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Old 02-12-2023, 09:57 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
NHL Empty Cupboard - Anchorage Huskies - FHM9

Expansion Gone Wild!

It's July 2024 and the NHL owners' meeting is underway. Two more seasons have been consigned to the history books and the owners have realized that the thing they liked best about being owners was all the lovely free money they got from selling expansion franchises.

Normally it takes a long time to set up a franchise, thinking up a name, jersey and a logo can take years, but the owners realize they have three previously-used franchises stuck in a cupboard somewhere so they came up with a plan to save time by reforming and selling off the franchises that were previously classed as "ceased-to-be". It was time to say hello again to old friends Quebec Nordiques, Hartford Whalers and Atlanta Thrashers, reconstituted, polished and sold off to gullible new owner groups in time for the 2025 season. Unlike the stacked expansion draft instant-contender deals Vegas and Seattle got, this batch would be getting a weakened expansion draft. They were in line for more of an old-style "be awful for years" expansion. The existing NHL owners liked the free money from expansion, but they were not so keen on giving away their own players so existing teams were able to protect most of their roster.

The contracts were signed, sealed and delivered and the recycled franchises sold before a problem with the plan becomes apparent: four divisions and only three expansion teams! Quebec Nordiques fitted into the Metropolitan division alongside Montreal and Toronto so that was an easy one. Hartford went into the Metropolitan division, split from the natural rival Bruins but at least they could have local rivalries with the Rangers and Islanders. Atlanta in the Central division was a bit more of a stretch but fair enough really, Atlanta isn't actually on the coast so that's fairly central. That left a one team gap in the Pacific division.

The commissioner showed why he'd been commissioner for about a thousand years by coming up with a plan to solve the issue: A fourth expansion franchise. The owners didn't want to give away any more of their precious players, so this runt of the expansion litter wouldn't be part of the expansion draft, they'd be starting "empty cupboard" if you will. And they'd also be tucked away in a remote tiny market so as not to impinge on another team's fanbase. And for a final boot to the franchise's collective nuts they'd also be given an Owner/GM who didn’t know what he was doing.

Last edited by Critch : 02-12-2023 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 02-12-2023, 10:01 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
A Franchise is Born

So it's a FHM9 empty cupboard challenge in a tiny market with a low budget.

Despite having no real knowledge of FHM or the inner workings of hockey, I've gone with a tough challenge. I've owned a few of the prior versions of FHM, but I'm not sure I've ever played a complete season of any of them. Steam money just pissed up a wall really. Normally I get put off pretty quickly, the tactics are a mystery to me and the manual has a lot of detail without actually clearing anything up (for me anyway). There's also surprisingly little mention of the tactics on the OOTP FHM board or Reddit, but FHM9 apparently has a new feature called "strategy feedback" (or something like that) so maybe that'll clear things up and this is the year to break through for me.

My hockey knowledge is that I watch almost every Washington Capitals game, think I've missed 1 game so far this season. That's more indicative of my empty social calendar than of any great hockey knowledge though. The one game I missed was because I went to see America in concert instead, not really my taste in music but they put on a good show. You should go and see them if you get the chance, Tin Man is a great song.

Thanks to working from home, I also watch ESPN's In The Crease each morning unless the Caps lost the night before. I wont be watching tomorrow.

The middle of nowhere expansion team is the Anchorage Huskies playing in a "Tiny" market with a "Disloyal" fanbase in the real-life 6000 seat Sullivan Arena. Tiny and Disloyal are the two lowest setting you can create an expansion team with, so that'll keep them uncompetitive for a good long time. Probably forever. Colors will be ice blue, with navy blue and white trim inspired by an advert I saw for Icebreaker chewing gum while deciding what colors to use. Seems a suitably frozen north color scheme to me. There will also be an AHL affiliate added nearby too, all the expansion franchises will get a new AHL affiliate team. For Anchorage Huskies it'll be the Juneau Grolars. A grolar is apparently a super-mean grizzly/polar bear hybrid, sounds like the kind of ferocious, manly animal you'd name a hockey team after. Not a soft and cuddly animal like a penguin.

Last edited by Critch : 02-13-2023 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 02-12-2023, 10:07 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Be Prepared.

In preparation for my annual attempt to get into FHM, I've been scouring the internet for hints and, thanks to multiple posts on Reddit, I'm ready to go.

Here are the FHM "facts" that I've learned:

1. Defensemen are harder to find and more important than forwards. Forwards come and go, solid defenseman are the bedrock of a good team and should be signed up for years if possible. Get 4 or 5 better than NHL-average defenseman and your players wont be booking tee-times when the playoffs are happening.
2. Line balance is important - your scoring lines should be a scorer, a passer and a more defensive forward to cover for the other two. Defense pairings should be one attacking/one defending. Or maybe two two-way defenseman.
3. When you can’t get balance, err on the side of defensive
4. Despite what your wife tells you, size matters. Big lads are worth more than little lads, unless the little lads are elite level.
5. No learning on the job. Young players with potential are better learning their trade in the AHL, in Europe, or in the juniors. NHL roster should be NHL ready players, you can’t hide a few holes in your lineup.
6. For goalies one guy says it's better to have two passable goalies in a 1a/1b tandem than an expensive superstar and a backup, and another says you can’t win the Stanley cup without a superstar. So who knows, jury is out on fact number 6.

So with those little nuggets of knowledge, I'm ready to get underway. It's time to go through the expansion in the game, add all the new teams and AHL affiliates, run the expansion draft for the other teams then see if there are enough free agents left over for the Huskies to cobble together a roster.

So here we are. I'm not really sure why an introduction post has been split into three parts. But I did it. Three posts in and the game hasnt started yet. I wouldnt hold out much hope for post four changing that.

Last edited by Critch : 02-12-2023 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 02-13-2023, 11:04 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
A Bad Plan is Better than no plan

I'm really just writing this dynasty as an incentive to myself to keep playing the game and finally give it a chance. I've repeated the whole "buy it, try for 10 mins, shelf it and move onto something else" cycle too many times, so this time I'm going to force myself to work out what's going on. I'm going to get my money's worth even if it's no fun.

The game is now slowly chugging it's way through simming up to July 1st 2024, Expansion Setup Day in FHM. I have every league selected, leagues from countries that I didnt know had hockey leagues, so it's slower than a week in jail but it'll get through the two set up seasons soon. This is the third attempt at simming the set up seasons, first time Toronto won both Stanley Cups, next time Philadelphia won 2022/23 so I'm counting both of those attempts as immersion-busting bugs and trying again.

As background, the players in FHM have an veritable cornucopia of ratings, the player page is covered with numbers and stars describing the players in all kinds of detail. There's the attributes, loads of them rated 1-20. Then there's the role rating, how good the player will be in each role (things like "Enforcer", "Sniper", "Two-way Forward") calculated by weighting the applicable attributes. And then there's the Overall and Potential ratings, a single 0 to 5 star summary of everything.

For the Overall and Potential star ratings for players, here's a handy rough guide I found somewhere on reddit:

1.0 star and below - not ready/not good enough
1.5 star - Emergency backup
2.0 star - depth
2.5 star - bottom 6 forward/low defenseman
3.0 star - NHL regular starter
3.5 and above - Top player

So the Anchorage Huskies will be starting out with the following glorious five part plan:

1. Get enough cheap 1.5/2.0 star players to fill out a roster. Preferably young players with potential, but with enough current to not be too exposed in the NHL.
2. Set up with stodgy, defensive lines to keep games close. Trap, dump and chase, lots of big lads checking.
3. Watch the waivers to snap up any young players who'll improve the team
4. Give extended contracts to anyone with a reasonable chance of one day being 3.0 star or better. Especially if they're defenseman. The more serviceable players on long term team-friendly contracts the better. (One redditer I read said the key was finding 2.0 star current/3.0 star potential players and signing them long term to build a cheap base to add stars onto, sounds like a plan.)
5. Finish last in the league, win the lottery, draft a "once in a generation" future all-star.

In what may be a great omen for the future of this dynasty, Washington Capitals forward TJ Oshie said "excuse me, sir" to me in Wegmans grocery store tonight. I was looking at the pre-packed sushi and he was trying to reach the edamame. He even said "oh no problem" when I apologized for being in his way so he's a proper gentleman.

Last edited by Critch : 02-13-2023 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 02-14-2023, 05:44 PM   #5
Young Drachma
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Niiice, maybe this will make me fire up this game so I'm all for following this one.
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Old 02-15-2023, 01:53 PM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Originally Posted by Young Drachma View Post
Niiice, maybe this will make me fire up this game so I'm all for following this one.

Thanks, I'll try to make it through a whole season then.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

A number of holdups, both game related (I accidentally simmed too far and missed the expansion date so had to start setup again, I found out you cant select "cant be fired" in an ongoing game so had to start again, I had to set up graphics that were supposedly automatic) and not game related (Valentines Day dinner with Mrs Critch, had to watch the Caps lose again), but the game is finally at early pre-season 2024/25 and ready to go. The expansion draft has happened and the other expansion teams are loaded with 2.0 and 2.5 rated players that their old teams didnt think worth protecting, but the Anchorage roster is still clear and empty. All ready to be filled up with cheap dross.

First up, a quick summary of the two seasons that were simmed to get here:

The Colorado Avalanche stomped everybody in the regular season, finished with a record number of points and wins, blowing away the old records. They finished with a 71-8-3 record for 145, 13 points more than the previous record and 9 wins more. Didnt win them the Stanley Cup though, Carolina were the top seed from the East and beat them 4 games to 2 in the final.

Alex Ovechkin got 42 goals to narrow the race for all time top goalscorer, think that's about 70-something behind Gretzky.

And Vancouver "won" the draft lottery and got themselves real-life generational talent Connor Bedard. A challenger for the coveted "best Canadian Hockey Player called Connor" title.

After their record-breaking 2022/23 season the Avalanche fell off a cliff and could only win their division with a measly 96 points, they werent even the number 1 seed in the West! Losers could only make #2 seed, Edmonton were #1. President Trophy winners were Carolina with 112 points.

Stanley Cup final was Boston Bruins from the East against the West's Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins won the cup in game 7. I bet their fans celebrated the cup with the class and restraint for which they are known.

Connor McDavid bounced back from a fairly down (for him) 2022/23 and scooped the MVP (Hart Trophy) and Most Points (Art Ross Trophy) with 135 points. Ovi is slowing down as a 38 year old, lower ratings but still got himself 35 goals and is now 37 behind Gretzky, it's a race against time now.

And Rookie Connor Bedard played the whole season in the NHL, 45 points in 76 games for the Canucks, but didnt win the Rookie award. He finished second to Shane Wright who was drafted 4th the year before but spent the year in the juniors. He got 46 points for Seattle.

So that's us up to date. First thing up will be the Entry draft lottery, I cant find anyway of not including the expansion teams in the draft and as all the expansion teams are lottery teams they'll be getting good picks. I'll be simming over and over til I get as low pick as possible. It would feel a little cheap to get the number one draft pick within a week of starting.
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Old 02-16-2023, 10:24 PM   #7
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2024/25 Preseason

Rookie Draft
Re-loading until Anchorage got a later draft pick didn't work out so well, so Anchorage had the 5th pick. I accidentally overwrote my backups and couldn't rerun the lottery. At least I didn't get 1st pick. There was not enough time to scout anybody so the draft was almost all guided by the mock draft.

So Henry Mews, Emil Hemming, Chris Thibodeua and a four other guys who'll probably never be mentioned were welcomed to the Anchorage Huskies. They were our first, and at that point only, players. All over 6 foot, all around 200lbs, big lads. I dont think any of them will make the NHL this year, but it's a start.

Free Agency
My cunning plan for free agency was to snap up all the youngish players who were currently borderline NHL-ers in the hope they'd improve with playing time, then once I had most of the roster stacked with prospects I'd fill in the gaps with cheap experienced free agents on short deals. Unfortunately with expansion just past every team had gaps to fill so it was a sellers market and my targets kept getting snapped up elsewhere. My cunning plan soon became "just get enough players for a team, anybody will do".

I also discovered that sometimes when your scout says "boss! boss! I've found us a good player who's a great bargain!!", you're scout might be totally wrong and when the player turns up he'll be dire. The goaltenders are a good example of that.

So long story short, the Anchorage Huskies blow. Maybe record-breaking-ly bad.

Zach FucaleG29CAN1.51.521,150
Brayden PetersG22CAN1.02.02750
Hunter ShepardG28USA1.51.521,290
Jakob DionLD22CAN1.52.02750
Jacob BrysonLD26CAN2.02.531,570
Brenden DillonLD33CAN2.02.032,502
Niko MikkolaLD28FIN2.52.53969
Oscar PlandowskiRD21CAN1.53.53883
Michael StoneRD34CAN2.02.01750
Darren RadyshRD28CAN2.02.02750
Tommy CormierC20CAN2.02.53750
Odeen TuftoC27USA2.02.01750
Jakov NovakC25CAN2.02.01750
Sam CarrickC32CAN2.02.02750
Anthony RichardC27CAN2.52.521,051
Tyler SavardLW21CAN2.03.03852
Liam GilmartinLW21USA1.53.03750
Yauheni AksiantsiukLW23BLR2.52.52878
Carl GrundstromLW26SWE2.52.52750
Jiri SekacLW32CZE2.52.511,051
Alex GalchenyukLW30USA2.02.01953
Justin DanforthRW31CAN2.52.531,843
Jesper FastRW32SWE2.52.521,092
Warren FoegeleRW28CAB2.52.531,559
Anatoli GolyshevRW29RUS2.52.521,260

A selection of bottom 6 and depth players, not many of them with room for improvement. At least they're cheap, they're about 30mil below the salary floor so plenty of room to snag anybody on waivers.

Post after the next post will take us to the All-Star break. Not much chance of avoiding last place is my guess.

Last edited by Critch : 02-16-2023 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 02-16-2023, 10:43 PM   #8
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Since I've gone to the bother of learning how to make an excel table line up on here, here are the rookies too.

Henry MewsRD18CAN1.54.500Juniors
Emil HemmingRW18FIN1.54.000Finnish League
Chris ThibodeauRW18CAN2.03.000Juniors
Oskar VuolletC18SWE1.03.500Juniors
Jeremie RichardLD18CAN1.03.000Juniors
Liam WatkinsLW20CAN1.03.500NCAA
Visa VedenpaaG19FIN1.02.000Juniors

For the first few years all of the rookies in the league are real prospects, not sure when that finishes but this bunch are real life hockey prospect kids.

The goalie taken in round seven isnt very good, but he's 6'4 and 220lbs, surely covering most of the net must help out?
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Old 02-18-2023, 09:22 AM   #9
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
The Episode Where The Anchorage GM Doesnt Understand the Rules.

Post number 8 and finally some games.

Since the Anchorage Huskies were well below the salary floor there was still money to spend on Free Agents to fill in some weak spots. Unfortunately the free agent cupboard was pretty much bare. A goalie was obviously needed so that was the one free agent picked up. Matt Murray, former Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Toronto goaltender, wasnt getting any offers so he was snapped up to hopefully be steady. 2.5 star current so not great but a great improvement on what we previously had. He's got a Scotland flag on his helmet, so he'll do.

There was also a couple of waiver claims, C Philipp Kurashev (current 2.5, potential 2.5) and D Ryan Lindgren (2.5 and 3.0) and the roster was as good as it was getting. A winning pre-season (4-3) and maybe the team wont be too awful?

So here are the lines to start the season:

First line - Carl Grundstrom/Anthony Richard/Jesper Fast - Richard is a perimeter shooter, so paired with Grundstrom the Power Forward and tactic set to "Crash the Net". That sounds like it should work? Right? Fast is a backchecking forward to balance the other two out

Second Line - Yauheni Aksiantsiuk/Philip Kurashev/Justin Danforth. Kurashev is a playmaker, Danforth is a sniper so they sound like a goalscoring pair

Third Line - Jiri Sekac/Sam Carrick/Warren Foegele - Third line is the defensive line, it'll start mainly in our own zone and be up against the opponents top line, so it's all defensive and grindy. Carrick is good for faceoffs, the plan is he wins the faceoff then the others clear the zone and dump and chase. Carrick actually starts the season injured, but that's the plan.

Fourth Line - Tyler Savard/Odeen Tufto/Anatoli Golyshev - It's really just anybody left who's not awful. Not as defensive and grindy as I was planning.

Defensive pairing

First - Brenden Dillon and Darren Raddysh
Second - Niko Mikkola and Jacob Bryson
Third - Ryan Lindgren and Michael Stone.

We've got a lot of Stay-at-home defenders, so top two lines are a Stay-at-home (Dillon and Mikkola) paired with somebody a bit more adventurous (Raddysh and Bryson). Third line is all defensive because that's all that's left.

Goalies are Matt Murray backed up Zach Fucale.

But will it all work? First game looks good, a 3-1 win to kick off the season at Seattle (Anthony Richard with the first ever Huskies goal, Darren Raddysh with the first ever assist). And that's when I find out that I dont understand the Salary Floor rules. I thought it was "you can spend less than this, but you'll be fined". It's actually "you have to spend at least the salary floor or the game wont let you advance to the next day".

So Anchorage Huskies have $32 million to spend and less than 24 hours to spend it. It's like Trading Places.
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Old 02-18-2023, 11:47 PM   #10
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Join Date: Sep 2004
This looks extremely entertaining to say the least. Hope it keeps going
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Old 02-19-2023, 10:28 PM   #11
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
This looks extremely entertaining to say the least. Hope it keeps going

Thanks, it'll keep going for a while. Not giving up without a playoffs.

2024/25 season, first half

The last update left off with the Huskies less than halfway to the salary floor and looking to blow $32mil on just about anybody to meet the requirements and advance on. Luckily the game is quite forgiving if you're stuck in that situation, free agents will negotiate and sign straight away so two highly paid FA (G Sam Montembeault for 6.25mil x 3 years and RD Tyler Myers for 8.3mil for 1 year) and one player received in a salary dump trade (36yo Center Jonathan Toews from the still rebuilding Blackhawks) and the salary floor got a whole lot closer. By then there was nothing left worth bidding for in FA, nobody who would improve the team anyway, so drastic measures were needed. RW Nick Cousins lucked out in lottery-winning fashion. He demanded 1.4mil per year for 2 years, but settled for 13mil for one year and, after some roster shuffling to the AHL, we were above the salary floor and could press "next day" with confidence. Cousins was able to sit on the bench counting his money while being the highest paid player in the league.

I'm planning on this dynasty being a bit quicker moving and not crawling along one game at a time, but game two was the Huskies first ever OT win, 2-1 at Atlanta, so it gets a special mention. Game 3 was a win too, 3-0 at Minnesota and for a moment Anchorage had the best record in the league. Things kept on going positively and the Huskies got to 6-3-0, before being 9-7-0 at the beginning of November and in the playoff race. They were not scoring many but were riding along on a wave of Matt Murray playing like an all-star goalie. The goalies have little icons signifying their form, little flames for "hot" and little icy things for cold, Matt Murray rolled through the first couple of months hovering between 3 flames and 5 flames (the max) and kept the team ticking along. I was just at the point of thinking "Is this game too easy? Am I going to the playoffs with this chaff?" when it all crashed and burned. In early November an OT loss at Boston dropped the team below .500 for the first time at 9-9-1 (the Huskies first ever loser point) and we were soon out of the playoff race for good.

It's now January 1st 2025, right after the all-star break, and the Huskies are 8th of 9 in the Pacific Division, 44 games played with a record of 15-25-4 for 34 points. They have allowed a fairly respectable 138 goals, pretty much middle of the pack for goals allowed, but they're the second lowest scorers in the whole league with only 94 goals in 44 games. Injuries havent helped, top line LW Carl Grundstrom has been out for the season since the 2nd game, top line C Anthony Richard is out for the season now too, 2nd line LW Yauheni Aksiantsiuk has been out a couple of months with a broken collarbone but he'll be back soon. If you hover over a team it gives a little summary, apparently the Huskies weaknesses are at LD, RD, C, RW and LW. So only the goalies arent a weakness, the current plan is to try and trade Murray off for a pick at the trade deadline, so G will be on the list too soon.

Top scorers are injured-for-the-year Anthony Richard and Jonathan Toews with 9 goals, Toews started off as third line center but is now on the top line thanks to the injuries. Most points is waiver pickup Dylan Holloway who has 23 points (8 goals and 15 assists) bouncing about the top 6 playing either center or left wing as needed. Dylan Holloway is also one of only two players with a positive +/-, he's on 3 while fellow waiver pickup C Rasmus Kupari is on 5. RW Nick Cousins has played in 16 games and has 2 goals. $13mil per year doesnt get you much these days.

For the rookies, 1st round pick RD Henry Mews is rolling through the Major Juniors at over a point per game and would already be our best defenseman if he was in the NHL, so he'll be called up next season. 2nd round pick Emil Hemming is looking ok in Finland but may need another year there before NHL, and 3rd round pick Chris Thibodeau would probably be called up next year but is currently listed as indefinitely injured with "massive eye trauma" so who knows if he'll be ready.

The plan for the next post will be get to the end of the regular season and zip through the playoffs. Wont need a separate post for playoffs since the Huskies wont be there.

Last edited by Critch : 02-19-2023 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 02-20-2023, 02:28 PM   #12
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2024/25 season, second half

The season ended with Anchorage well out of the playoff race, in 9th place in the 9 team Pacific division with a record of 28-48-6 for 62 points. Not quite the worst record in the league, fellow expansion teams Hartford and Atlanta finished with 58 and 57 points respectively, Quebec were the runaway winners of the "best expansion franchise" award finishing with a huge 74 points. All four expansion franchises finished bottom of their division though, expansion as expansion should be.

The second half of the season was injury after injury, at one point we had 11 players on the Injury List. Jonathan Toews broke his hip and missed most of the second half of the season, almost everybody was out at some point. We picked up one guy on waivers, LW William Carrier, who made it 5 minutes into his Anchorage debut before being injured and out for the rest of the season. Maybe related maybe not, but I've discovered there is a training screen that I ignored all season. Could that have caused some injuries, or is everybody gets hurt just what happens? I've set training to AI control now, so maybe that'll be better next year.

My plan to trade Matt Murray for a good pick was scuppered by him becoming more and more awful as the season went on, and then breaking his hand right at the trade deadline. Even before the injury he'd lost his starting position to backup Sam Montembeault, at one point Murray had a Goals Saved Above Average over 9.00, by season end he was well below zero. Lots of mistakes as the year went on. I did bin lots of unwanted chaff as the season went on though, turned expiring contracts and old men (if you count 30 as old) into a bundle of 4th and 5th round picks. Gaps in the roster were filled with younger waiver pickups, it felt to me like the team was improving but the power rankings rate Anchorage last in forward strength and last in defensemen strength, so maybe my scouts are wrong. 26th for goalkeepers though thanks to the Sam Montembeault/Matt Murray tandem. The results did improve near the end of the season though, there was a section in the middle of the season when Anchorage couldnt buy a win, you knew it was going to be a loss before pressing the sim button. Anchorage had the worst record in the league before bouncing back to clinch third worst.

For the playoffs, a lot of big names missed out, no Florida, Maple Leafs, Islanders, Rangers, Caps, Penguins, Vegas, Edmonton in the playoffs. Feels like 3 seasons into the career there's been a powershift in the league, particularly in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa and Columbus won the two Eastern divisions, currently 7th and 8th and rebuilding in real life. Western conference is a bit less changed, Colorado still dominant but joined by Connor Bedard's Vancouver.

Stanley Cup went to Ottawa Senators, they beat St Louis by 4 games to 2. Connor McDavid won the MVP and scored most points despite his Edmonton team finishing 5th and missing the playoffs. He's so good some of his "out of 20" ratings are higher than 20, a couple of 21s and 22s in there. Ovechkin has slowed down, 24 goals this season to leave him 39 years old and 13 goals behind Gretzky. He has one more year left in his Caps contract, who knows if he'll make it, or what will happen when he's 40 and out of contract.

For Anchorage top scorer was Philipp Kurashev with 14 goals in 70 games, he also was top for points with 34. Only one player who played more than 2 games ended the season with a non-negative +/-, Yaukeni Aksiantsiuk with 0. Aksiantsiuk also led the team for average Game Rating. And I need to go read up on Corsi and Fenwick to work out what the advanced stats are telling me. I think they're basically saying "most of these guys had a bad year by any metric".

For next year things will be better. There are some rookies who will show up (1st rounder Henry Mews is now 3.0 current 4.0 potential and will be starting next year, 4th rounder Oskar Vuollet has gone from 1.0/3.5 last year to 2.0/5.0 now so if that's not scouting mistakes he may be an apparently rare low drafted star). There will also be quite a lot of salary cap available for free agents, maybe improve the defense and I guess a top scorer with 14 goals kind of says "get somebody who can score goals" too.

Next up will be pre-season preview, FA results and projected lines that look nothing like the ones from last year.
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Old 02-22-2023, 12:11 PM   #13
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2025/26 Preseason

Rookie Draft

Anchorage went into the draft lottery with the 3rd best chance of getting the first pick, but Anahiem got lucky and jumped from 5th to 1st, stealling the pick that wasn't rightfully ours. So Anchorage went in with the 4th pick and picked 18 year old Center Jordan Gavin (current 3.0, future 4.5). Seemed safer getting a player who is already partially developed and NHL ready rather than a 0.5 current/5.0 future risk at 4th pick.

At the trade deadline I dumped most of older upcoming UFAs for draft picks so Anchorage went in with their own picks plus 3 extra 4th round and 2 extra 5 round. A quick way to build an instant farm. Thanks to the high picks over the last couple of seasons, Anchorage are 2nd on Prospect ranking (C Jordan Gavin 12th, RD Henry Mews 29th, RW Emil Hemming 42nd, LW Lucas Karmiris 49th, C Oskar Vuollet 88th in the top 100 prospects). The Flyers are 1st in the rankings, and they are really loaded, 8 players in the top 50.

Jordan Gavin and Henry Mews will be in Anchorage this year, they're already our best forward and defenseman going by the star rankings. Emil Hemming would have been in the NHL too but I missed the deadline for signing him so he'll have another year in the Finnish league.

Free Agents

Thanks to having forewarning about the Salary Floor being literally a Salary Floor this year, FA has been more controlled. Nick Cousins' 13mil for a year will be a one off, he's left the payroll and is now on a try out at Colorado, so the money he freed up has now gone on a couple of FAs (LD Brady Skjei for 8.7mil and LW AJ Greer for 750k), signing a few rookies to Entry Level contracts, and giving new contracts to some players who'd have been UFA at the end of the year, so before the preseason games Anchorage are already safely over the $61million salary floor at $61,289,438.

Tristan LennoxG22CAN1.53.53750
Matt MurrayG30CAN2.02.031,851
Sam MontembeaultG27CAN2.53.036,250
Visa VedenpaaG20FIN0.51.53750
Jakob DionLD23CAN1.52.01750
Niko MikkolaLD29FIN2.52.52969
Ryan LindgrenLD27USA2.53.024,310
Brady SkjeiLD31USA3.03.028,710
Sterling WoltersLD23CAN0.52.51750
Oscar PlandowskiRD22CAN2.03.52883
Andrew PeekeRD27USA2.02.012,750
Darren RadyshRD29CAN2.02.01750
Henry MewsRD19CAN3.04.03834
Jacob BrysonRD27CAN2.52.521,570
Sam CarrickC33CAN2.02.02750
Tommy CormierC22CAN2.02.02750
Jordan GavinC18CAN3.54.03834
Phillipp KurashevC25SUI2.52.511,530
Anthony RichardC28CAN2.52.511,051
Jonathan ToewsC37CAN2.52.517,380
Rasmus KupariC25FIN2.52.511,260
Dylan HollowayC23CAN2.53.021,260
Hunter BischoffC22USA0.52.52750
Yauheni AksiantsiukLW24BLR2.52.51878
Carl GrundstromLW26SWE2.02.01750
Jakov NovakLW26CAN2.02.021,142
William CarrierLW30CAN2.52.51760
Liam WatkinsLW21CAN2.02.53878
AJ GreerLW28CAN2.52.52750
Justin DanforthRW32CAN2.52.521,843
Jesper FastRW33SWE2.02.011,092
Warren FoegeleRW29CAB2.52.521,559
Anatoli GolyshevRW30RUS2.02.011,260
Vasili PodkolzinRW24RUS2.53.522,480
Arthur KaliyevRW24USA3.03.542,600
Chris ThibodeauRW19CAN2.53.53834

The roster looks to have grown this year, but that's mainly because it includes players who'll be demoted to the AHL before the regular season starts. Didnt include as many of them last year. Visa Vendenpaa, Henry Mews, Jordan Gavin, Liam Watkins and Chris Thibodeau are all Anchorage draft picks, Gavin from this year and the rest from last.

Last edited by Critch : 02-22-2023 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 02-22-2023, 01:43 PM   #14
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2025/26 Preview

I should have really called this post the "preseason" one and the last one "close season".

With the salary floor safely achieved and no glaring holes in the roster, we're all set for the season's start

Anchorage Huskies Lines:

First Line - Carl Grundstrom/Philipp Kurashev/Arthur Kaliyev - All change on the top line, Grundstrom is back but he only lasted 2 games last year before getting injured for the year so doesn't really count as a returner. It's more defensive than last year's plan (which didn't really work), Kurashev and Kaliyev will help out the defense too.

Second Line - Yauheni Aksiantsiuk/Jordan Gavin/Vasili Podkolzin - Aksiantsiuk is the only regular top 6 forward to keep his place, 31 points in 64 games and a 0 +/- made him the star of last year. Pretty low bar. Rookie Gavin is a playmaker, Podkolzin is a sniper who arrived on waivers late last year. Hopefully they'll pair up for goals. Podkolzin got 4 in 6 pre-season games so that's hopeful.

Third Line - AJ Greer/Dylan Holloway/Warren Foegele - all tougher than last year, they'll be in there to defend and stop the oppositions good players playing hopefully.

Fourth Line - William Carrier/Rasmus Kupari/Jesper Fast - not just whoever is left over like last year, this year the 4th line is quite counter-attacky and half-decent.

Last year the Anchorage Huskies were by far the lowest scoring team in the league, pretty respectable goals allowed but less than 2 goals scored per game (1.9). So these forward lines dont have to do much to be an improvement

Defensive Pairings

First - Brady Skjei and Andrew Peeke
Second - Ryan Lindgren and Henry Mews
Third - Niko Mikola and Jacob Bryson

This year all three defensive lines are a stay-at-home defenseman (Peeke, Lindgren and Mikola) paired with a more adventurous defender. I forgot to mention at the end of last season but Niko Mikola was a trendsetter, the first ever Huskies player to be suspended. He got 6 games for boarding a Bruin. It didnt say which one but I'm choosing to believe it was Marchand.

An improvement from last year's roster is that this year we have some depth too. Oscar Plandowski is a 22 year old LD/RD and (judging by last year's injuries) is bound to see a lot of time, plus last year starters C Anthony Richard, C Jonathan Toews and RW Anatoli Golyshev are all still around. Toews is pretty much done due to injury (he broke his hip last year) and age (coming up for 38) so he wont be seen much.

Preseason games - Anchorage went 5-2-0, pretty promising until you remember they had a winning record in preseason last year too. Highlights were Podkolzin scoring 4 in 6 games, and lowlight was NJ Devils beating the Huskies 6-3 behind a Jack Hughes hattrick. Anchorage have still never had a player score a hattrick.

Prediction - I'm going Anchorage improve but are still a lottery team. Maybe 8th-10th worst record. I compared the Anchorage lines screen with a random selection of other teams and they're fairly comparable. The only difference is other teams are a whole lot of average with a smattering of stars where Anchorage is average all the way through.

One thing I forgot to mention is that every month you make selections on a budget screen, things like scouting, morale, game promotions. It wasnt a problem last year but this year even if I set it to the absolute lowest settings it's still a loss each month. Not sure if that'll be an issue, so far the only problem is that a few players are upset by the lack of morale spending.

Last edited by Critch : 02-22-2023 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 02-23-2023, 01:25 PM   #15
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2025/26 Season, first half

Apparently I still dont understand the salary rules. I thought when a player was demoted to AHL part of the salary was retained, but after moving down a few players we're about $6mil below the salary floor again. At one point I demoted a guy on league minimum and promoted a guy on $2mil and the team salary dropped so I'm clueless as to what's going on, or if it's even working as it should. There's been a new patch released for the game in the last couple of days, so it still has the occassional issue and bug to address. Since starting I've had one game stopping bug (a popup with an inactive OK button that stopped me advancing so I had to close the game and reload) and one less important bug (a player I had in the AHL was released by the AI at the season's end, apparently a known bug).

Anyway, a couple of last minute FAs to get to the salary floor (new starting G Linus Ullmark and RD upgrade Adam Larsson) and the it's time to start the season. Unfortunately Linus Ullmark is good in the game but he's not as good as his current real life version. One downside of the shuffling is 4th line center Rasmus Kupari went on waivers to try to sneak him to the AHL to make room for somebody earning more and he got snatched away by Colorado. Bye bye Rasmus, we barely knew you. He'll be missed mainly for his cool name.

We got off to a slow start getting to 1-5-1 but a run of 6 wins in a row (including one where we won 2-1 behind a goal from each of our two rookie stars Gavin and Mews) and it was obvious this years team wasnt as pisspoor as last years. Maybe not quite playoff contenders but on the edge. From then on for about 6 weeks the Huskies bounced around the .500 mark until a period where two of the top defensemen went down injured (Brady Skjei 3 months and still not back and Adam Larsson for a month) plus a third got suspended (Jacob Bryson, 6 games for bonking somebody on the bonce). That left the roster short of defense with a couple of career AHLers called up to fill out the numbers, and that led to a downturn as the Huskies dropped 4 games below .500.

It's now January 1st 2026 and a run of wins over the holidays, 4 wins in a row, sees the Huskies back on form with a record of 48 played, 22-22-4 for 48 points, still only good enough for 8th place in the division but only 5 points behind the last wildcard spot.

The main difference has been the rookies, C Jordan Gavin has 11 goals, 23 assists - 34 points in 36 games (he missed the start of the season with an injury, then 8 more games for a suspension) and Henry Mews is a goalscoring defenseman, the teams top scorer with 16 goals, 13 assists - 29 points. Add in Carl Grundstrom's solid return from missing almost all of last season injured (15 goals, 9 assists in 38 games) and Vasili Podkolzin finding a scoring touch too (15 goals, 19 assists, tied with linemate Gavin for points lead). The two goalies Ullmark and Montembeault have exactly split the starts so far (not planned) and have matching 11-11-2 records, so it's the definition of a 1a/1b goalie pairing so far.

Next post will be the second half of the season, we're not completely out of the playoff hunt but it's looking unlikely. The team's depth chart lists our best LW, 3rd best RW and 4th best C as prospects that cant be signed til the summer, maybe adding in them and a good free agent or two and playoffs next year might be a reasonable target.
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Old 02-25-2023, 06:03 PM   #16
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2025/26 Season, second half

The second season came to an end with no drama, no brave chase for the playoffs, no fight to get to .500. The Huskies were not very close at the All Star break, and that was as near to a playoff spot as they got. The second half of the season was a slight disappointment and they finished with a 35-40-7 record for 77 points. That's 15 points more than the previous season, if they were to improve by 15 points again next year they'd be right in the chase for a wildcard place. Not to be this year though, 77 points was only good enough for 7th in the 9 team Pacific division, 7th worst record in the league. One sign of the improvement was that last year if a half decent player turned up on waivers, Anchorage would claim and get them. This year they'd claim and somebody else with a worse record would get them. Normally Hartford Whalers.

One high point for the Huskies was that they were the only one of the four expansion franchises to not finish bottom of their division. They also had the best record of the expansion teams so I'm officially better than the AI. And they also crawled off the bottom of the Goals For list. So that's three good things.

For the Huskies rookie stars Henry Mews (27 goals, 21 assists) and Jordan Gavin (14 goals, 35 assists) looked good for a pair of teenagers although neither got anywhere near the Rookie award, that went to New Jersey's Luke Hughes, younger brother of current Devils star Jack Hughes.

Other Huskies players who deserve a mention for having a good year:
RW Vasili Podkolzin (22 goals, 32 assists, 54 points is a new Huskies record)
LW Carl Grundstrom (22 goals, 22 assists)
C Philipp Kurashev (5 goals, 26 assists)
D Brady Skjei (8 goals, 12 assists)
G Linus Ullmark (20-19-2, 2.90GAA,.909Sv%).

I really meant to put up end of season stats but I forwarded into the new year before remembering so the stats screen is all zeroes for 2026/27. Maybe next year if I remember

In the playoffs Western Conference wild card Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup beating the Eastern Conference wild card Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. A year for upset. Toronto's Auston Matthews won both the Art Ross (most points) and Hart (MVP). Connor McDavid spent half the season injured so he lost out on his two annual awards and Matthews got them. One thing I have noticed is that star players dont appear to move often in FHM9, they all seem to be where they started the game. Unlike real life, Dmitry Orlov is where he should be playing for the Caps

Alex Ovechkin got the goals he needed to overtake Wayne Gretzky, a 30 goal season to take him to 911 career goals, 17 ahead of Gretzky. That's where the record will stay though, he retired at the end of the season.

Next up will be the 2025/26 Close Season thread when the dynasty will take a swerve from "we're getting good!" to "I've messed this up!". I've made a couple of mistakes that have f-ed up the Huskies for a while. A cautionary tale of how not to play FHM9.

Last edited by Critch : 02-25-2023 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 02-27-2023, 10:28 AM   #17
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Close Season Action

Anchorage Huskies have been having a trying time. The tl;dr version is that I've messed up the finances by not checking what options I had selected, which messed up the team morale, so it's retool/rebuild time. Now either skip to the end, or read all the boring details.

I mentioned at the end of the 2025/26 Preview that the team was making a loss every month but that I didn't know why or if it would be an issue. Turns out the why was because I caused it, and the if it would be an issue was a yes.

The problems all came from a mistake I made setting ticket prices on the annual budget screen. Before season 1 I had a small budget and no fans so I thought a ticket price reduction was affordable and would drag in fans so dropped the ticket price the maximum 30% allowed. Before season 2 I pretty much just clicked through the annual budget screen without checking all the options, I assumed the 30% ticket price reduction was a one off and the would reset itself, but it didn't so I accidentally reduced prices by 30% again. So that's where the monthly loss came from, over two years I'd reduced average ticket price from $80 to $38. Looking at the league ticket price list it ranges from $150 (Toronto) down to $75 (Hartford) and then Anchorage is down on it's own at $38.

With ticket revenue way down, the team was running with a monthly loss. That meant zero money for scouting support (which means a reduction on scouting effectiveness), zero on team morale (negative monthly adjustment to player happiness) and zero on game promotions (5% penalty on attendance). The first one isn't a disaster, the second and third have caused a lot of problems.

The 5% penalty on attendances seems to be monthly and cumulative, so a season's worth of no spending has seen the average home attendance drop from 6500 to 3300 which means even less ticket money which means even less spending. Vicious circle, innit.

The negative adjustment to player happiness meant that at the end of the season the "Currently Unhappy" list was every single player. Team-wide bad morale leads to cliques forming, cliques lead to even worse morale, another vicious circle. Seems like cliques need to be dealt with sharpish before the team morale falls off a cliff, and Anchorage had bad morale and 13 players in three separate cliques.

There are a few options for trying to deal with cliques, you can try intervening yourself if you have high enough Player Management (I don't), you can have your team captain intervene (my team captain is Niko Mikkola and he's in a clique so not going to help). The only other option is to reduce the clique to 2 players so it stops being a clique and becomes just two guys who hang out sometimes.

So it was time for a clear out. Seven players were traded away to kill the cliques and improve morale (LW Anthony Richard, RD Jacob Bryson, LD Ryan Lindgren, LD Niko Mikkola, RD Oscar Plandowski, C Dylan Holloway, G Sam Montembeault). Basically I just looked at each clique, kept the two most important players and traded the rest for anything I could get. Anything I could get was mainly low value prospects, had to avoid the salary dumps offered. After getting rid of all the malcontents the Team Harmony screen looked a lot better but the Conflicts section of the screen was still full. That turned out to be that there was one guy who everybody hated, and he hated everybody back. RW Warren Foegele got shipped out too and the Conflicts part of the Team Harmony screen was empty too.

Add in a few expired contracts and Jonathan Toews retiring and the team roster was very bare, but harmony was up to "Acceptable". A close season that was meant to be adding some strength to a developing team became a rebuild instead.

Rookie Draft
With the penalties on scouting, I'm not sure how good the draft was this year. Overall it looked weak and prospects dropped off after the first couple, not sure if it was a down year or a scouting issue. We went into the draft lottery with 7th pick but dropped to 8th when, just like real life, the draft lottery was fixed to make sure NY Rangers got a top pick. They jumped from 12th pick to 2nd in the lottery. With 8th pick we got 18 year old Swedish winger Anton Nilsson and we then carried on to pick Swedes in almost every round. Nobody who'll be jumping straight to the NHL though.

Free Agents
The roster was bare but luckily we had a lot of prospects ready, or nearly ready, to make the jump up to NHL. So LW Lucas Karmiris (Current 3.0, future 3.5), RW Emil Hemming (3.0/4.0), C Oskar Vuollet (2.5/4.0), C Alex Weiermair (2.5/2.5), C Hunter McKenzie (2.5/3.0) all made the jump to the NHL roster. From the summer of trades we also added RD Ian Mitchell from Vancouver and 34 year old RW Marcus Foligno from Vegas so the Forwards looked ok. The defense was weak though so a couple of overpriced splashes on defensemen (31yo LD Adam Pelech (2.5/2.5) and 32yo LD Brandon Montour (3.0/3.0) and we've got a full roster and got to the Salary floor.

Last year's rookies RD Henry Mews and C Jordan Gavin will still be around and a year older, and last year's respectable scorer Vasili Podkolzin (22 goals last year) signed a new contract to stick around, so maybe things wont be too bad.
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Old 02-27-2023, 03:01 PM   #18
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2026/27 Preseason

Tristan LennoxG23CAN1.53.03750
Matt MurrayG32CAN2.02.011,851
Linus UllmarkG32SWE2.52.517,080
Visa VedenpaaG21FIN1.01.52750
Vitek VanecekG30CZE3.03.022,820
Brady SkjeiLD32USA3.03.018,710
Brandon MontourLD32CAN3.03.035,420
Adam PelechLD31CAN2.52.535,570
Adam WilsbyLD25SWE2.02.51750
Henry MewsRD20CAN3.54.02834
Topi NiemelaRD24FIN2.53.032,686
Jordan SpenceRD25CAN2.53.522,190
Ian MitchellRD27CAN2.02.01960
Christopher RomaineRD22USA1.52.01750
Tristen DoyleRD20CAN1.03.03835
Jordan GavinC19CAN3.54.03834
Oskar VuolletC20SWE2.54.03925
Phillipp KurashevC26SUI2.52.531,965
Alex WeiermairC21USA2.52.53878
Hunter McKenzieC19CAN2.53.03834
Colby SaganiukC23USA2.02.51840
Tommy CormierC22CAN2.02.01750
Hunter BischoffC23USA0.52.01750
Lucas KarmirisLW19CAN3.03.53834
Yauheni AksiantsiukLW25BLR2.52.521,659
Carl GrundstromLW28SWE2.52.521,337
Liam WatkinsLW22CAN2.53.02878
Jakov NovakLW27CAN2.02.011,142
Liam O'BrienLW31CAN2.02.021,883
AJ GreerLW29CAN2.52.01750
Vasili PodkolzinRW24RUS3.03.512,480
Emil HemmingRW20FIN3.04.03834
Arthur KaliyevRW25USA3.03.032,600
Marcus FolignoRW34CAN2.52.514,450
Chris ThibodeauRW19CAN2.53.52834
Justin DanforthRW33CAN2.02.011,843

If anybody is thinking "How is this guy so bad at this game? He should have a top class roster by now", I'd like to point out that I'm using a couple of house rules. I'd read that it's too easy to stack up a roster if you target star players and offer huge piles of mediocre players and low draft picks, and that it's too easy to move up the draft order. So my rules are 1) no offering trades. I can shop a player and see what's offered but no offering a bundle of crap for Cale Makar and 2) no moving up the draft by bundling picks. So that's why I'm not winning. Honest.

All change with the Anchorage lines to start the season, lots of new faces:

First Line - Carl Grundstrom/Jordan Gavin/Vasili Podkolzin - Gavin and Podkolzin were the forward stars of the team on the 2nd line last year so they stay together, a playmaker and a sniper pairing. Grundstrom will be throwing his weight about to make space for the other two.

Second Line - Lucas Karmiris/Oskar Vuollet/Emil Hemming - An all-rookie second line. The original plan was Grunstrom on this line until I noticed Karmiris and Vuollet had good chemistry from playing together in the OHL for the last three seasons. They had a combined 173 points playing together for Mississauga Steelheads in the OHL last year. Emil Hemming averaged 1.5pts per game in the Finnish league last year, so if everybody can make the step up they should be a good line

Third Line - Yauheni Aksiantsiuk/Hunter McKenzie/Marcus Foligno - All change here too. Aksiantsiuk drops down from the second line, McKenzie is a rookie making a step up from the OHL, and Foligno is the experience and one of the few ready players picked up in the great summer clearout. If the line isn't tough enough we have Liam O'Brien waiting to step in with some ultraviolence.

Fourth Line - Liam Watkins/Philipp Kurashev/Chris Thibodeau - Watkins and Thibodeau bounced between Anchorage and Juneau in the AHL last year, and neither were good enough when they were in the NHL, so questions about this line. Arthur Kaliyev starts the season injured for a month or two, he'll probably replace Watkins or Thibodeau when he's back.

Defensive Pairings
First - Brady Skjei and Jordan Spence
Second - Brandon Montour and Henry Mews
Third - Adam Pelech and Topi Niemela

Before this all started I said that I'd read it was important to stack defense and it was important to pair an offensive defenseman and a defensive one. So why is the defense one top draft pick (Mews) and overpaid middling FAs and players picked up on waivers? And why are five of the six offensive defensemen? It's because I havent planned well. I did notice in the draft that defensemen went quickly, by third and fourth round the forwards remaining were much better than the defensement.

It's a 1a/1b pairing again. Linus Ullmark returns and Vitek Vanecek comes in as a reasonable salaried partner.

Prediction - really for all the upheaval, the team doesnt look any worse than last year. I'm going much the same result as last year, no playoffs but competitive. Mainly it depends on how the rookies settle.
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Old 02-27-2023, 10:36 PM   #19
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2026/27 Season, first half

The season started with a scare when I got stuck 300k below the salary floor, no AHL shuffling could make a difference, and the owner's budget was maxed out so I couldn't sign a free agent to get over the salary floor either. I thought the dynasty may be stuck permanently and coming to an end. Eventually I discovered that I could turn commissioner mode on and use the editor to increase Anchorage's salary budget by a few million to allow a FA signing. That got me past the "salary floor" popup and move onto the next day. Disaster averted.

That scare was followed by another when Anchorage lost 5 of their first 6 games. I thought maybe too many rookies would mean a serious under-performance, but since then everything has turned around and the Huskies are in the playoff race. It's just past midpoint of the season, January 8th 2027, and Anchorage are 4th in Pacific division with a record of 48 games played, 27 wins, 19 loses, 2 OT loser points for 56 points. That's good enough for the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference, we'd be the very last team to qualify for the playoffs if they started today. It's close though, Edmonton are 1 point behind, Minnesota are 4 behind but with 2 games more to play, plus there are 3 teams only 2 points ahead, so the playoff picture changes day by day, anything could happen.

The Anchorage MVP so far has been new goalie Vitek Vanecek. He was brought in to split the starting spot with Linus Ullmark but he's made the number 1 spot his own, a record of 26-17-2 and a sv% of .921. He's helped make up for the defensemen being shaky, Skjei and Mews should be our top two but Skjei has started to show signs of aging, and Mews has been limited to only 15 games thanks to a torn muscle. He'll be back soon though. The bad news with Skjei's aging is that he's just signed a three year extension to kick in at the end of the season, not the best timing. C Jordan Gavin is leading the team, he's stepped up in his second season with 15 goals and 25 assists for 40 points in 42 games, Vasili Podkolzin second in goals with 14, and the rookies Oskar Vuollet, Emil Hemming and Lucas Karmiris hitting the ground running too. Lucas Karmiris also made history with the first ever Huskies hat-trick, he got 3 in a 5-4 OT win over Chicago on New Years Day 2027.

A suddenly successful team is dragging the fans to the arena too, even with an increase in ticket prices. The team is back to making a profit thanks to all the ticket revenue, they can afford scouts and marketing again.

So all is good with Anchorage Huskies so far, in with a chance of making the playoffs and with the core of the team young and tied up for a few years.
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Old 02-28-2023, 08:43 AM   #20
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
A musical interlude which may, or may not, be a spoiler for how the rest of the regular season went.

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Old 02-28-2023, 11:26 AM   #21
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2026/27 Season, second half

After the last post Anchorage limped along just about staying in the playoff spots, they bounced between 1st and 2nd wildcard spot and occasionally droped down to 9th place. Edmonton had gone on a run and were out of touch, so we were not going to make top three in the division (Vancouver, LA Kings and Edmonton had the top three locked up). Top three from each division qualify for the playoffs then it's two wildcards with the best record in the conference so 4th in the Pacific might not be enough if the 5th team in the Central had a better record. We were fighting with Calgary, Winnipeg and Minnesota for the two wildcard spots.

That playoff fight seemed over by early March. Last week of February and first week of March was a long road trip, six road games in two weeks. Anchorage lost all 6 in regulation, all by 2 or more goals, and dropped out of the playoff spots. A lot of lopsided scorelines too (first week in March was 7-2 at Dallas, 7-4 at Minnesota, 5-1 at Nashville), the team was in a rut and fell to 10th place in the Conference, 7 points behind the last playoff spot and having played a game or two more than the wildcard competition. It seemed all over, a good but ultimately disappointing season.

And then a turnaround, I jumbled up the defensive lines a bit, gave the backup goalie regular starts, and the team responded. Back home for four wins, followed by a 6-2 at Boston, a 2-1 at Quebec, the Huskies closed out March going 9-2-0.

Going into April and the last week of the regular season we were still outside the playoff positions. Fourth place in the Pacific was tied up, Calgary had fallen away, but Winnipeg had snatched the 1st wildcard spot so it was down to Anchorage and Minnesota for the last spot. A win in the second last game (3-1 home to Anaheim) and we went into the last night of the regular season knowing that a win, or even a loser's point, at Atlanta would clinch the playoffs. Atlanta were in last place with nothing to play for, we were 3-1 up after the first period, it was all tied up! Except it wasnt, we lost. Luckily Minnesota lost too, they threw away a 2-1 lead in the third to lose 3-2 at Anaheim and Anchorage Huskies were into the playoffs as the 8th seed.

Was it my line shakeup that turned the season around? Was it the young talent through the Anchorage lineup? Mainly it was Minnesota losing their last 4 games and throwing it away. Their fans would be raging and tearful at the same time.

So we're onto the playoffs, that'll get it's own post. Anchorage finished the season with 44 wins, 34 loses and 4 overtime loses for 92 points. We had a positive goal differential for the first time (GF 251, GA 245). It was the home record that carried them to the playoffs, 30-10-1 was second best in the conference. Only Colorado had a better home record.

Now it's onto the playoffs and a series against the number 1 seeded Colorado Avalanche. They were dominant this year, first in the Central Division with a record of 61-16-5 for 127 points. Yeah, Anchorage are not winning that one.

p.s. I was listening to The Zombies as I played, hence the musical interlude since the song seemed apt.
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Old 02-28-2023, 02:03 PM   #22
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Playoffs Round 1 - Colorado Avalanche

Reasons we can't beat Colorado:
1. They've had a great season - won the Central with 127 points, won the President's Trophy (most points in the NHL) by 13 points, a goal differential of 125 goals
2. They have some great players - Nathan MacKinnon (5.0 star) got 118 points this year, Mikko Rantanen (5.0 star) got 106, Cale Makar (5.0 star) is the league's top defenseman
3. They've got depth - The league positional power rankings ranks them 1st for Forwards, 2nd for Defensemen. Anchorage are 36th for Forwards and 20th for Defensemen. (Not sure how we're 36th for Forwards)
4. We played them 3 times this season and they won them all - (4-2 in Anchorage in October, 4-3 in Colorado in November, 4-2 in Colorado in February)

Reasons we can beat Colorado
1. Cale Makar is injured. He's been out for a month with a dislocated shoulder, he's listed as day-to-day so might be back soon
2. Their goaltending is mediocre - when I saw their goalies I thought they must have an injury because the two guys they're rolling with are cheap and backup level. Cole Brady (1.5 current, 2.0 potential) led the league in GAA, but I guess that's mainly he doesn't face many shots.
3. We're pretty much injury free - Only 4th line Center Philipp Kurashev is out
4. It's the playoffs - Anything can happen. Right?

Game 1 Anchorage Huskies 4 Colorado Avalanche 1
Well we're not getting swept anyway. No scoring in the first period, MacKinnon puts the Avalanche ahead in the 2nd, but defenseman Jordan Spence (a waiver pickup from LA Kings last season) scores with seconds to go in the second to tie it up. A five minute hattrick for Vasili Podkolzin in the third period (3:23, 3:49, 8:22) and it's a 4-1 win on the road. Anchorage have had 1 hattrick in 246 regular season games, and 1 hattrick in 1 playoff game.

Speaking to reporters after the game Vasili Podkolzin said "I hope I did not give the goalie sunburn on the back of his neck from the light going on so much". Zing! (That's from the in-game report)

Game 2 Anchorage Huskies 1 Colorado Avalanche 3
And it's all tied up again. No scoring in the first, Colorado take the lead with a short handed goal from Sampo Ranta in the second, Gabriel Landeskog makes it 2-0 in the third, Olen Zellweger (another waiver pickup defenseman) gets Anchorage back into the game with 10 minutes to play, but Colorado score a late empty net goal to finish it off. Back to Anchorage now.

Game 3 Colorado Avalanche 6 Anchorage Huskies 1
Colorado score early and often to easily win this one, 4 goals in the first period. They're 5-0 up in the second before Hunter McKenzie scores Anchorage's first ever home playoff goal. Nathan McKinnon adds a 6th in the third and Colorado have the home advantage back. Not the best for Anchorage's first ever home playoff game.

Game 4 Colorado Avalanche 1 Anchorage Huskies 4
We're not done yet. Nathan MacKinnon gives Colorado a lead in the first, Podkolzin ties it in the second, then defensemen Brady Skjei and Brandon Montour give Anchorage a 3-1 lead in the third before Podkolzin scores an empty netter to end it, his 5th goal of the series.

Game 5 Anchorage Huskies 4 Colorado Avalanche 5 OT
Ok, we're nearly done now. Yauheni Aksiantsiuk puts Anchorage ahead in the first, but Colorado score three in the first and one in the second to get into a commanding 4-1 lead. Vasili Podkolzin drags Anchorage back into it with his 6th goal of the series with a minute to go in the second, Jordan Spence and Jordan Gavin score within a minute of each other in the third and we're off to overtime. First overtime is scoreless, but Mikko Rantanen gets his 1st of the series 6:14 into the 2nd OT and it's back to Anchorage for a do-or-die game six.

Game 6 Colorado Avalanche 3 Anchorage Huskies 2
And the playoff "run" is over. Mikko Rantanen puts Colorado ahead in the 1st, Nathan MacKinnon makes it 2-0 in the second, an assist for Cale Makar playing his first game back from injury. Vasili Podkolzin scores his 7th of series to bring us back within a goal. Midway through the third MacKinnon scores another, again with a Makar assist and it's 3-1 and we're heading out. Topi Niemela scores a short handed goal with 2:45 left to make it a frantic ending, but Colorado hold on to clinch the series. Anchorage outshot Colorado 41-23 in this game, but the goalie I called "backup level" earlier in this post won the game for them.

Vasili Podkolzin (7 goals, 2 assists) led the team with 9 points, Brandon Montour (1 goal, 5 assists) also showed up well. At the other end of the performance scale Henry Mews had only 1 point (an assist) and a +/- or -4.

So that's the season over. A surprise playoff appearance and they didnt disgrace themselves when they got there, nothing wrong with giving the best team in the league a hard series. A good season all in all.

Last edited by Critch : 02-28-2023 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 02-28-2023, 11:12 PM   #23
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Close Season
After dealing with Anchorage in the first round of the playoffs, Colorado beat Dallas 4-1 in the second round, LA Kings 4-2 in the Conference Final, then beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 in the Stanley Cup final. So we were knocked out by the eventual champions. That makes us equal second best team in the league in my opinion.

Connor McDavid was league MVP again, 3 of the last 4 years, just missed the year he was injured. Not bad, still no Stanley Cups though. No awards for Anchorage players, and I didnt win GM of the year either. It's an injustice.

Rookie Draft
It was a strange draft this year, it was all a bit....well...crap. Seemed like the talent was much worse than previous years. Thanks to the playoff run we didn't pick til 21st, got a Canadian LD called Easten Turko. He really wasn't any better than what I'd expect to get in the 3rd round in previous years. Anchorage also ran into a bug in the late rounds, from the 5th round onward Anchorage couldn't pick anything other than goalies, no other position showed up to select. Thanks to hording lower round picks, we now have 8 terrible goaltender prospects, maybe one of those lottery tickets will hit.

Free Agents
There were not as many holes in the roster to fill this year, no cliques, no ingrates to shove out the door but we still had money to spend. Backup goalie Linus Ullmark's 7mil contract expired (after which he realized he never had to work again and promptly retired), Marcus Foligno contract expired and he went back to Minnesota, a few others left too on expiring contracts and we were left with no gaps in the roster but 11mil to spend to get to the salary floor.

And spend it we did.

First in was a tough bottom 3 center Shane Pinto, he got 3.5mil a year for 3 years to be our third line center. Next up was a strange one. After all the callups the Anchorage prospect cupboard was fairly bare, there was only one real prospect left. C Mattias Lofgren, a third round pick in 2025 he'd been 1.5 current/3.0 potential back then and after 2 years playing for Kamloops in the Canadian Western Hockey League he was now somehow ranked as 1.5/5.0. I was a bit doubtful that a 20 year old who hadnt improved from 1.5 in two years would ever hit 5.0 so I shopped him to see if anybody would give me a high pick for him. Instead Detroit, who are in a new rebuild phase, offered top RD Moritz Seider. 26 years old, 3.5 current 4.5 potential and earning $6.5million per year for 3 more years. Sounded too good to turn down, so I didn't turn it down. That along with an undrafted Ukrainian center called Nikita Zozulia for an entry level contract and Anchorage were safely above the salary floor for another year.

One bad move of the summer was that Brady Skjei was given a new 3 year contract for 6.5mil per year last year before it was obvious he was on a downward slide. it kicks in this summer. We also had some important players going into their last contract year, Henry Mews, Chris Thiboseau and Jordan Gavin all signed extensions, but Carl Grundstrom and Yauheni Aksiantsiuk both opted to test the market so they'll be gone next summer, if not before.

And the financial issues seem to have died down too, a playoff season really gets the fans back on board.

Vitek VanecekG31CZE3.03.012,820
Tristan LennoxG24CAN2.03.02950
Matt MurrayG33CAN2.02.021,490
Ryan GroutG20CAN1.02.53750
Visa VedenpaaG22FIN1.02.01750
Brandon MontourLD33CAN3.03.025,420
Brady SkjeiLD33USA2.52.536,571
Olen ZellwegerLD24CAN2.53.521,460
Weston KnoxLD23USA2.53.51750
Adam PelechLD33CAN2.02.025,570
Henry MewsRD21CAN4.04.51834
Moritz SeiderRD26GER3.54.536,590
Topi NiemelaRD25FIN3.03.022,570
Jordan SpenceRD26CAN2.53.012,190
Erik CernakRD30SLO2.02.524,335
Jordan GavinC20CAN4.05.01834
Shane PintoC26USA3.53.533,410
Oskar VuolletC21SWE3.03.52925
Alex WeiermairC22USA2.52.52878
Hunter McKenzieC20CAN3.03.02834
Nikita ZozuliaC22UKR3.03.52878
Lucas KarmirisLW20CAN3.03.52834
Yauheni AksiantsiukLW26BLR2.52.511,659
Carl GrundstromLW29SWE2.52.511,337
Liam WatkinsLW23CAN2.52.52878
Liam O'BrienLW31CAN2.02.011,883
Vasili PodkolzinRW25RUS3.53.534,881
Emil HemmingRW21FIN3.54.02834
Arthur KaliyevRW26USA3.03.022,600
Philipp KurashevRW27SWI2.52.521,965
Chris ThibodeauRW21CAN2.53.01834
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Old 03-01-2023, 02:46 PM   #24
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2027/28 Regular Season

No musical interlude before this one. No repeat of "This Will Be Our Year". No youtube of Britney Spears singing "Oops I did it again". This team did not deserve a musical interlude. They didn't even deserve the regular season being split into two posts.

After the high of finishing 8th in the conference and clinching a playoff spot last year, this year they let everybody down by finishing 9th in the conference and missing the playoffs. I thought with the FA additions the team would be better than last year but Seider was out injured half the season, Pinto was awful and soon lost his starting place, and new goaltender Mads Sogaard (he was signed after the season preview to take Vitek Vanecek's place) was good but no better than Vanecek last year. So even stevens, much the same borderline playoff challenging team as last year.

We also had a lot of injuries, and when they happened they happened in bunches and at the same position. Left Wing was missing 2 or 3 starters for months, both top defensemen Seider and Mews were out at the same time for a mid-season month. Add on that the left side of the defense (34 year old Brady Skjei and 34 year old Brandon Montour) both got old and past their best this season and defense was a problem all year.

With two games to go we were 1 point behind 4th place Anaheim and in with a chance, but we lost both games (ending the season with a back-to-back against Toronto and NY Rangers wasn't the easiest option) and ended up 5th in the Pacific with a record of played 82, won 42, lost 37, OTL 3 for 87 points. 5 points less than last season. An improved goal differential though, 17 this year. We scored a lot of goals, almost 40 more than last year.

As it turned out catching Anaheim wouldn't have made a difference, Nashville went on a run in the Central division and had a better record by a point so both Wild Card teams come from the Central division this year.

So onto next year. The prospect cupboard is bare and we need to replace a few on left wing (3 season veterans Yauheni Aksiantsiuk and Carl Grundstrom both want to try free agency so wont be back) and we need to replace 2 left defense (Skjei and Montour are expensive and done, so I'll be trying to dump them). Most of the money freed up has been used to extend Jordan Gavin and Henry Mews contracts, their rookie ones were expiring.

Starting to feel like "almost playoff" is as good as this bunch will get and maybe we need to dump and rebuild. But until then, onwards and upwards.

Incidentally Britney Spears is an anagram of presbyterians. I don't think there's a stranger, less apt anagram in show business.

How the main guys did (I know +/- is an old-fashioned discredited stat, but I dont know what else to put):

G Mads Sogaard - 70gp, 36-31-3, .916sv%, 2.91GAA
G Vitek Vanecek - 17gp, 6-6-0, .897sv%, 3.53GAA
LD Brady Skjei - played 63, 1g, 15a, -10
LD Brandon Montour - played 12, 1g, 2a, -2
LD Olen Zellweger - played 79, 13g, 27a, +1
RD Henry Mews - played 74, 28g, 19a, -7
RD Topi Niemela - played 73, 12g, 30a, -11
RD Moritz Seider - played 44, 9g, 14a, +19

LW Lucas Karmiris - played 72, 16g, 35a, +11
RW Vasili Podkolzin - played 80, 26g, 35a, +1
RW Emil Hemming - played 82, 8g, 53a, +11
C Jordan Gavin - played 73, 25g, 33a, -5
C Oskar Vuollet - played 82, 28g, 26a, +1
C Nikita Zozulia - played 76, 19g, 29a, +7
C Shane Pinto - played 23, 4g, 6a, -12
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Old 03-01-2023, 10:24 PM   #25
College Benchwarmer
Join Date: Jun 2002
Great read so far. Might make me pick up the game.
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Old 03-02-2023, 09:36 PM   #26
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Originally Posted by cubboyroy1826 View Post
Great read so far. Might make me pick up the game.


If you do pick it up, dont pay full price. It's not a $39.99 game, look out for a sale. I've been enjoying my play-through this year, but every year I buy it I always regret not waiting for a sale.

I let it sim for 2 mins, I set the lines, I press the "Sim Game" button, I look at the box score, I look at the injuries, then back to step one. Repeat 82 times for a season.
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Old 03-02-2023, 10:47 PM   #27
College Benchwarmer
Join Date: Jun 2002
How different is fhm 9 from 8?
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Old 03-02-2023, 11:18 PM   #28
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Not very. It looks much the same. NCAA leagues are in, the team harmony stuff that caused all the clique issues a couple of season ago is new (and it's quite good, adds depth), lots of bug fixes, custom leagues are apparently a lot better. But not a huge jump forward.

But I'm not a great person to ask. I didnt really do much with FHM8.

Last edited by Critch : 03-02-2023 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 03-03-2023, 07:20 AM   #29
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Close Season
The playoffs were totally devalued by Anchorage not being there, but they were held anyway.

Last year Colorado beat Dallas in the Western Conference playoffs and went on to win the Stanley Cup. This year Dallas beat Colorado in the Western Conference playoffs and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Dallas sneaked past Colorado 4-3 in the Conference Finals, then swept Florida in a one-sided final. So that's 2 championships in 3 years for Dallas.

For the awards, Connor McDavid was injured for half the season so didn't win anything. His Edmonton teammate Leon Draisaitl won the MVP and Most Points award continuing Edmonton's long tradition of winning year end awards but doing nothing in the playoffs. They got knocked out in the first round by Colorado.

Rookie Draft
I think I'm going to have to go look through the discussion boards on Steam and see if anybody complains about a drop-off in talent in the league, because this is garbage. Looking back to the draft from the first year Chris Thibodeau was a third rounder, 2.0 current 3.0 potential. This year he would have gone about 12th in the first round.

Or maybe it's just that Anchorage have been going with a financially imposed bare bones strategy on scouting so the scouts don't have a clue.

Anyway Anchorage got a Canadian left winger called Jaxon Pirie. He's 18 and off to Princeton to play hockey and probably study a bit too, so he wont be NHL for years. One of the additions to EHM9 is that NCAA leagues are now playable. After the 1st round we went defenseman heavy, lots and lots of defensive lottery tickets who may or may not come good.

Free Agents
We've reached the point where the original Anchorage rookies are coming to the end of their rookie deals and due a raise, so keeping Jordan Gavin, Henry Mews and Chris Thibodeau around cost about $10mil extra. Luckily there's a lot of overpaid deadwood lying around the roster and it seems to be pretty easy to trade away any old junk, so it was time for an Anchorage yardsale. The 34 year old husk of Brady Skjei and his 13mil over the next two years went to Quebec for a 4th round pick, 34 year old Brandon Montour went to Hartford for a 4th, high priced FA flop Shane Pinto went to Florida for a 5th and a prospect, rarely used but still 6mil per year Erik Cernak went Philadelphia for a 4th, and former starting goalie Matt Murray went to St Louis for a 6th. No new free agents in so we're about 1.5mil under the salary floor and ready to dabble when teams get down to 23 players for the start of the season, we'll have cash for sweet sweet waiver pickups.

Unfortunately we'll have a wave of rookies getting real contracts next year too, and no deadwood to clear to pay for it.

Mads SogaardG27DEN3.03.525,038
Tristan LennoxG24CAN2.03.01950
Ryan GroutG20CAN1.52.52750
Rasmus SandinLD28SWE3.03.036,485
Olen ZellwegerLD24CAN2.53.511,460
Weston KnoxLD24USA2.53.03950
Eric BurgerLD22SWE2.02.51750
Henry MewsRD22CAN4.04.044,704
Moritz SeiderRD27GER3.54.026,590
Topi NiemelaRD26FIN3.03.012,570
Tomas LavoieRD22CAN3.03.555,492
Jordan GavinC21CAN4.05.035,459
Oskar VuolletC22SWE3.53.51925
Hunter McKenzieC21CAN3.03.01834
Nikita ZozuliaC23UKR3.03.51878
Alex WeiermairC23USA2.52.51878
Lucas KarmirisLW21CAN4.54.51834
Arthur KaliyevLW27USA3.03.012,600
Urho MattilaLW21FIN2.53.02790
Philipp KurashevLW28SWI2.52.511,965
Liam WatkinsLW24CAN2.52.531,586
Vasili PodkolzinRW27RUS3.53.524,881
Emil HemmingRW22FIN3.54.01834
Chris ThibodeauRW22CAN2.53.032,621
Magnus HirschRW22DEN2.52.52750

A lot of contract final years on there and I cant afford them all.

The pre-season positional ranking has Anchorage as 16th overall, 24th for forwards, 1st for defense, 31st for goaltenders. I think having no real backup is downgrading our goalies.

Last edited by Critch : 03-03-2023 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 03-03-2023, 01:08 PM   #30
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2028/29 Preseason

It's September 20th 2028, the night of Anchorage Huskies first preseason game of the season, and Anchorage have problems. Like multiple.

Here's the list in reverse order, from minor to not minor:

1. The preseason games are starting, but the IIHF World Cup is going on so we don't have enough players to make a team for the pre-season games. I guess I need to call up the AHL leftovers.

We have eight players off playing in the World Cup:
North America (Canadians who arent good enough for Canada and the occasional American who's not good enough too) - Henry Mews, Jordan Gavin, Lucas Karmiris.
Finland - Topi Niemela, Emil Hemming
Russia - Vasili Podkolzin
Team Europe (players from minor European nations. Germans, Swiss, Danes, Belorussians, Slovakians and a Latvian) - Mads Sogaard, Moritz Seider

2. On July 1st you can make updates to the league structure. I had one job for July 1st, I was going to create some ECHL teams for the expansion franchises. ECHL is the minor league below AHL and most NHL teams have an ECHL affiliate. I'd noticed a few weaker players I'd sent down to the AHL never played, never even dressed to play, so I planned to add an ECHL team for Anchorage (Fairbanks Juniors). It was July 2nd before I remembered so maybe next year, another year of 6th round picks not playing for a year.

3. We've had an "off-ice incident". Emil Hemming has done something so heinous that some of his teammates now hate him, team harmony is shot, the Team Harmony rating is "Open Hostility". C Nikita Zozulia, G Tristan Lennox, RW Chris Thibodeau and LW Liam Watkins all hate Emil Hemming now, I thought the hate score was out of 5 but Liam Watkins hates Emil Hemming at a 9 level so that's some serious hate. No details given but I'm choosing to believe Emil Hemming has done something with Liam Watkins' wife and/or mom. It's not going to get better on it's own so I'm going to have to trade somebody. Unfortunately for Zozulia, Lennox, Thibodeau and Watkins, Hemming got 53 assists last season so I'll be taking his side and trading them. The message they should learn is that if you're going to fall out with a teammate, make sure he's not more valuable to the team than you are.

4. Expiring contracts and next season's roster - We've got 12 players with contracts expiring at the end of the season and some of them are important and due a payrise. Four of the 12 have agreed new contracts to start next summer so we already have more salary obligated for next season than this and holes to fill in the roster. I'm going to have to do some salary reducing to get a full squad together next year. (Another house rule I'd been using is no haggling, players get what they ask for)

5. The general budget. The salary cap is $94mil, the floor is $61mil and the Anchorage owner's salary limit is $62mil. I think a 6k stadium in a tiny market with disloyal fans is too small to support an NHL team because of the salary floor, to get to the $61mil salary floor the team has to cut all other spending and still runs at a loss every month. The debt builds up month after month then at year end all the broadcast revenue is used to pay off the season's debt and start the cycle all over again. So for most of the year the team is getting negative adjustments to it's morale, scouting and attendance. And the team will never be able to save enough cash to increase the stadium's size, so we're stuck.

So my options are 1) carry on as is and see what happens, 2) change the NHL rules next year and drop the salary floor. It would be better to have money for scouts, morale, attendance monthly payments and 10mil less salary, 3) relocate. When I first thought about doing this I was going to go an Eastern Conference team in an average market (the hilariously named Cleveland Steamers), maybe Anchorage could relocate there to make the budget healthier? Or even move to Oakland and resurrect the California Golden Seals so they wouldn't have to move division. Anyway, it wont be this season. Maybe in the future

And now I'm away to try to cobble together a lineup for the pre-season games, and see what trades I can do to solve the harmony issues.
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Old 03-03-2023, 09:29 PM   #31
Pro Rookie
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Canada eh
Really enjoying this, hope you keep it going for a long time! Curious to see how you'll resolve the financial side of it and hope you find a way so you can keep putting money into the "other" pots other than salary. Good luck!
"I don't want to play golf. When I hit a ball, I want someone else to go chase it." - Rogers Hornsby
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Old 03-05-2023, 12:07 AM   #32
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Really enjoying this, hope you keep it going for a long time! Curious to see how you'll resolve the financial side of it and hope you find a way so you can keep putting money into the "other" pots other than salary. Good luck!

Thanks, planning on keeping on for a while yet. Maybe not til a Stanley Cup win because I dont think that'll be happening. I got distracted by the FM Winter patch being released, but back to FHM9 now.

Preseason Predictions and Stuff
First task for pre-season was to stamp out the open hostility by trading away the openly hostile. A whole bunch of folks hated Emil Hemming because of something he'd done, but unfortunately Emil Hemming was a whole lot better than the whole bunch of folk so it marked the end of their Anchorage careers. Liam Watkins went to Boston, Nikita Zozulia went to NY Rangers, Tristan Lennox went San Jose, all of them for middling prospects who all went to Juneau probably to be never seen again. Once those three were moved out, Chris Thibodeau wasn't as bothered anymore so no need to trade him, he's still not keen on Hemming but not enough to damage morale. Wish I'd kept Nikita Zozulia instead, he was much better than Thibodeau.

Team Harmony has gone from "Open Hostility" to "Acceptable". For research purposes I checked what teams would offer for Hemming if I wanted to trade him instead, wasn't impressed, it wasn't the pile of picks and prospects a good player got in real life at the trade deadline yesterday.

The IIHF World Cup came to an end with a couple of upsets in the semis. Russia stomped through their group unbeaten, Canada stomped through their group unbeaten, then they both lost in the semifinals. USA beat Russia, Sweden beat Canada, then USA won the final 2 games to 1, Auston Matthews and Alex de Brincat the stars.

In the week before the regular season starts all the teams get their roster down to 23 players by demoting players to their AHL affiliate. Other than the youngster prospects the player has to go through waivers to be demoted, so there are lots of bargains to be had, so Anchorage be had a few bargains. We needed a backup goaltender so we get Topias Leinonen, he's Finnish, and he's a net-filling 6'5'' and 240lbs, and a replacement for Tristan Lennox. We also get a pair of RW, Gabe Perreault and Prokhor Poltapov. They're both fairly average, but they fill a need.

So the lines to start the season:

1st Line - LW Lucas Karmiris (4.0), C Jordan Gavin (4.0), RW Vasili Podkolzin (3.5) - That all seems pretty good for a top scoring line
2nd Line - LW Arthur Kaliyev (3.0), C Oskar Vuollet (3.5), RW Emil Hemming (3.5) - Our regular 2nd and 3rd left wing left to pursue other options this year (Aksiantsiuk is in the KHL with SKA St Petersburg, Grundstrom is without a team) so Kaliyev moves up to be a top 6 forward. He got 8 goals in 75 games last year, that'll have to improve or he wont last long
3rd Line - LW Urho Mattila (2.5), C Hunter McKenzie (3.0), RW Chris Thibodeau (3.0) - Mattila came in from Florida in a trade for last season's FA flop Pinto, McKenzie has more responsibility since Zozulia got traded away, he's a downgrade for 3rd Line C, and Thibodeau still hates Hemming but not too much so he gets to stay.
4th Line - LW Philipp Kurashev (2.5), C Alex Weiermair (2.5), RW Gabe Perreault (2.5) - Not very good, Weiermair is borderline AHL and would be an actual AHLer if I hadnt traded away Zozulia, Kurashev may move to C and replace him if things don't work out. Perreault is the only one of the 3 with potential to improve.

1st Line - LD Rasmus Sandin (3.0), RD Henry Mews (4.0) - I've tried to go one defensive, one offensive. Sandin will defend while Mews rushes forward and scores lots of goals
2nd Line - LD Topi Niemela (3.0), RD Moritz Seider (3.5) - Niemela can play on either side, so he'll bounce around to cover the many many injuries we'll get.
3rd Line - LD Olen Zellweger (2.5), RD Tomas Lavoie (3.0) - Zellweger supposedly has potential to improve, but he's 25 so who knows.

Starter - Mads Sogaaard (3.0) - 6'7'' and 250lbs. He's a whole chunk of goalie
Backup - Topias Leinonen (2.5) - Potential 4.0, so he's the goalie of the future. Anchorage average a new starting goalie every year, so the future may be soon.

When I realized last year's starting left wing Carl Grundstrom was without a team I tried to sign him. He wants 3.5mil per year for 3 years, no wonder he is without team.

Prediction - No real improvement from last year, maybe if we can avoid injuries we'll sneak the playoffs.
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Old 03-05-2023, 09:15 PM   #33
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Warning - The following update starts with a bit of cheating so look away if you're offended by somebody not playing the game straightlaced.

The day before the season started the Anchorage Huskies owner set up a meeting and said "Look, I'm a multi-billionaire. How about I help out the team finances by paying some builders to instantly increase the arena size from 6,500 to 9,500. It'll still be a bit small for the NHL, but at least it might tip the balance to financial stability. And then we'll have no more silly talk about relocation".

In other words I used the editor to increase the size of the Anchorage Arena to try and get to a managable financial state. That's the only change I made, we'll see if it helps. Back when I first set this up I went into the editor and reduced all the Anchorage setting to "make it more of a challenge". What a dummy.

While in the editor I noticed that the Anchorage fans had gone from "disloyal" to "normal" on a Fan Loyalty scale (disloyal-normal-loyal-very loyal-fanatical). That playoff year a couple of years ago must have fired up the fan base up to a mildly interested level, hopefully that'll help out too.

We'll still have the lowest budget in the league (although Hartford are close because the AI seems to have really done a number on them), but at least it'll be more playable.

2028/29 Regular Season
Anchorage Huskies start off like a real competitor, it's like we finally have a team. The little chart mentioned in post 4 said "3.5 and above - Top player". We've got Forwards Lucas Karmiris (4.5), C Jordan Gavin (4.5), C Oskar Voullet (3.5), C Dylan Holloway(3.5), RW Vasili Podkolzin (3.5) and RW Emil Hemming (3.5), plus defensemen RD Henry Mews (4.0) and Moritz Seider (3.5). Apparently we now have enough players to just about make it as a challenger, roundabout the end of November we're at 16-5-1 and second in Pacific Division to the LA Kings who are apparently even better than a challenger.

(nb Dylan Holloway was one of the players dealt away in the great "team riddled with cliques' purge of a couple of years ago, but he was waived by his new team so home he came. The Anchorage scouts think two years in Nashville have made him a better player too.)

It was at the end of November that we learned the flaw in the Anchorage roster makeup, we were ok at the top level but didnt have any depth, most of the depth options got traded away in the summer to solve the dressing room conflict problems. When the injuries kicked in, and they did, the team struggled. We had some really poor players up from the AHL showing why they were career AHLers for a few months while Voullet, Karmiris, Podkolzin and Hemming were injured, we never got bad enough to fall too far out the playoff chase but LA Kings and Vancouver Canucks (led by Connor Bedard) ran away with the top 2 places in the division. Injuries cleared a bit and by the end of February we pretty much had a top 4 in the Pacific division locked up, 11 points clear of 5th place Edmonton. We were fighting with Calgary for 3rd in the division to avoid the wild card race. The Central division had a good chance of taking both the wild card spots, so 4th place wouldn't guarantee a playoffs spot.

Good news - despite a poor March (5-8-0) we stayed neck and neck with Calgary in the fight for third right to the end. Bad news - we lost on the last day to Nashville and Calgary clinched third place by 1 point. Good news - it didnt matter, we were already clear of the Central teams in the race for the wild card spots so we were in the playoffs anyway.

So we finished with a record of 44 wins, 32 defeats and 6 overtime loses for 94 points, beating our previous best of 92 points. And we're off to the playoffs.

Next up it's this season's Central Division champions, and reigning Stanley Cup champions, Dallas Stars in the first round of the playoffs.

Last edited by Critch : 03-05-2023 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 03-05-2023, 10:46 PM   #34
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Playoffs Round 1 - Dallas Stars
Dallas won the Central Division this year with 103 points, they won the Stanley Cup last year, their second championship in the last three years. They have the second best record in the Western Conference after Vancouver and they'd be pretty strong favorites to deal with Anchorage. So we're going in more in hope than expectation.

We played them three times in the regular season, a 2-1 shootout win in Dallas at the end of December and a 4-3 win in Dallas in January and a 4-1 defeat in Anchorage in February.

Star players are their goalie Jake Oettinger (4.5), LW Jason Robertson (4.5), C Roope Hintz (4.5), D Miro Heiskanen (4.0).

Game 1 - Anchorage Huskies 3 Dallas Stars 5
Dallas went 1-0 up after 10 seconds, not a good start, but our 4th line got us back into it with a Dylan Holloway goal. Dallas scored another couple before the end of the 1st to make it 3-1 at the first intermission. Only one goal in the second period, Olen Zellweger getting the Huskies back within 1 but Roope Hintz scored a powerplay goal early in the third (his second goal, he got one in the 1st period too) to make it 4-2. Jordan Gavin got it back to 4-3 with 10 minutes to go, then no more scoring til Robertson scored an empty net goal in the dying seconds to give Dallas the series lead.

Game 2 - Anchorage Huskies 3 Dallas Stars 2
No scoring in the first. Half way through the second Jordan Gavin gives the Huskies the lead, but it only lasts a couple of minutes before Fluker ties it. We go to the third tied and Dallas go up 2-1 almost straight away. Tomas Lavoie ties it up after 7:59, Dallas get a powerplay almost straight away but Philipp Kurashev scores a short handed game winning goal and it's back to Anchorage with the series tied.

Game 3 - Dallas Stars 3 Anchorage Huskies 4 OT
Dallas race out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, Robertson, Stankoven and Bichsel putting them in a commanding position. Second period is scoreless, so Anchorage go into the third period still trailing 3-0. Defenseman Topi Niemela starts the comeback with an unassisted goal after 4:35, Moritz Seider cuts the lead to only 1 after 10:14, and Jordan Gavin ties it up with 9 seconds left. Overtime doesnt last long, Lucas Karmiris scores after 26 seconds and the 9,500 record crowd go home happy with Anchorage in a 2-1 series lead. Dallas outshot Anchorage 40-27, but after the first period Anchorage goalie Mads Sogaard shut them out. The greatest game in Anchorage's (admittedly short) playoff history.

Game 4 - Dallas Stars 4 Anchorage Huskies 2
Bad news pregame is that Anchorage overtime hero Lucas Karmiris will miss the game with a sore groin, so some shuffling of the Anchorage lines is needed. No scoring in the first period. Dallas go 1 up in the second but Jordan Gavin scores for the 4th game in a row to tie it up. Early in the third Hunter McKenzie puts Anchorage ahead, but they cant hold onto the lead. Stankoven ties it for Dallas with 4 minutes to go, Quinn Olsen puts them ahead a minute later, then scores an empty net goal with a second ago. Back to Dallas with the series tied.

Game 5 - Anchorage Huskies 6 Dallas Stars 3
Still no Lucas Karmiris, he's back in Anchorage tending to his sore groin. Dallas goes 1-0 up, the only goal in the first period. 27 seconds into the second period Vasili Podkolzin gets his first of the series to tie it up. After 8:30 Oskar Voullet gets his first of the series and Anchorage are in the lead. Jason Robinson ties it up a minute later, but Voullet scores again at the end of the second, Anchorage go into the third period 3-2 up. Anchorage blow the game open, three goals in the first three minutes, Podkolzin, Niemela and Thibodeau, and it's 6-2. Dallas pull one back late on, but we're going back to Anchorage only one game from winning the series. Jordan Gavin didnt score in this game, but he got an assist on the first goal.

Game 6 - Dallas Stars 3 Anchorage Huskies 0
Lucas Karmiris isnt 100% but he's back into the lineup. He's risked because another left wing, Prokhor Poltapov is out for the playoffs with a broken toe. First period is scoreless, but Dallas score 3 in the second, 2 from Roope. Third is scoreless and we're back to Dallas for a game seven.

Game 7 - Anchorage Huskies 2 Dallas Stars 5
Lukas Karmiris is back to 100% for the game, so risking him in the last game didn't aggravate his injury.
Dallas go 1-0 up, Urho Mattila ties it up for Anchorage, Dylan Guenther puts Dallas up and it's 2-1 after the first. Another second period collapse for Anchorage, Dallas score 3, Hintz, Stankoven and Bischel, to make it 5-1 after 2 periods. Emil Hemming gets one back for Anchorage in the 3rd, his first goal of the series, but it's all over.

Halfway through the season I checked the free agents and there was a 4.0 goalie sitting there unsigned demanding 9mil a year. I'm not saying it would have made any difference if we'd blown the budget on a 9mil upgrade goalie (Sogaard is only 3.0), but maybe. Anyway, Anaheim eventually signed him anyway.

Next up will be the season 2028/29 wrap up. Maybe next year we can make the playoffs without being a wild card and avoid a top seed in the first round.
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Old 03-06-2023, 03:58 PM   #35
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Close Season
Second time Anchorage have made the playoffs, and it's the second time they got knocked out in the first round by the eventual champions. Dallas Stars got past Anchorage, then Winnipeg 4-2, Vancouver 4-3 (after being 3-0 down) and then Ottawa Senators 4-1 in the Stanley Cup finals. That's 3 Stanley Cups in 4 seasons, I think that's a dynasty.

For the other expansion franchises that started the same year as Anchorage, Atlanta finished last in their division as they have every year, Quebec followed up last year's playoff position by finishing last again this year, and Hartford are up to 7th in the Metropolitan division. It's not that they're good, it's more that Ovechkin has retired, Crosby has retired, Oshie, Letang, Malkin, Backstrom, everybody gone. Both Washington and Pittsburgh are on the downswing of rebuilds and are seriously awful, so Hartford in 7th, Washington in 8th and Pittsburgh in 9th.

Free Agents
This is an off-season where a bunch of Anchorage drafted players come out of their entry level contracts and get their first proper grown-up contract, a bunch of players who were scrapping by on only 800k per year bump up to around 5mil, so we need to let a number of UFAs walk away, plus then trade away a couple of big contracts to get the salary under control. First out is Rasmus Sandin, 6.5mil per year and never lived up to the hype, he lost his top line place last year. More defensemen out, Olen Zellweger is re-signed and moves on, Topi Niemela goes too. We'll be going with cheap options at left defense, a couple of prospects plus a cheap guy from Vegas who came in in the Zelleger trade. Not quite as good as Zellweger but earns about 3mil less.

We end free agency quite healthily over the salary floor so for the first time ever we wont be trawling free agents trying to find somebody who earns enough to boost our collective salary. Still by far the lowest salaried team in the NHL though, it'll be around 70mil after the squad is cut down to 23 for the season.

Rookie Draft
Another draft that gets weak quickly, or maybe it's always like that and I only noticed because we didnt have a pick til 25. Took a goalie in the 1st round, Calvin Tsicos, then a couple of big defenders in the second (we had an extra pick from trading), and then whoever the scout recommended as the top "risky pick". Got to collect those lottery tickets in the lower rounds.

Mads SogaardG27DEN3.03.015,038
Topais LeinonenG25FIN2.54.021,630
Ryan GroutG21CAN2.03.01750
Weston KnoxLD25USA2.53.02950
Rodwin DionicioLD25SWI2.53.01970
Jack SwaenepoelLD21CAN2.53.03827
Carter MurphyLD22USA2.53.52827
Easten TurkoLD20CAN2.03.03750
Henry MewsRD23CAN4.04.034,704
Moritz SeiderRD28GER3.54.016,590
Tomas LavoieRD23CAN3.03.545,492
Ty NelsonRD25CAN2.52.51850
Arber XhekajRD28CAN2.02.021,315
Jordan GavinC22CAN4.55.025,459
Oskar VuolletC23SWE3.53.564,997
Dylan HollowayC27CAN3.53.534,413
Hunter McKenzieC21CAN3.03.564,989
Alex WeiermairC24USA3.03.02871
Tommy CormierC26CAN2.02.01950
Lucas KarmirisLW22CAN4.54.554,873
Urho MattilaLW22FIN3.03.51790
Prokhor PoltapovLW26RUS3.03.011,520
Patrik PuistolaLW28FIN3.03.031,991
Jaxon PirieLW19CAN2.53.03834
Anton NilssonLW21SWE2.55.03861
Vasili PodkolzinRW28RUS3.53.514,881
Emil HemmingRW23FIN3.54.035,049
Chris ThibodeauRW23USA3.03.022,621
Gabe PerraultRW24USA2.53.521,440
Magnus HirschRW22DEN2.52.51750

Prediction - I'm not sure. Hopefully playoffs but the left defensemen look a bit week and the goalie isnt top class either. The league's Positional Rankings has Anchorage ranked 4th overall, 18th for Forwards, 6th for defense, 8th for goaltending, so that thinks we should be in the playoffs anyway.
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Old 03-07-2023, 10:41 PM   #36
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2029/30 Regular Season
I mentioned earlier that there had been a recent patch for the game, the part of the patch notes that I should have taken notice of is this:
  • slightly increased frequency of team harmony-affecting incidents
It says slightly but for Anchorage greatly might be closer to the truth, we had had two off-ice incidents causing team harmony problems in the first 5 seasons, then had 5 off-ice incidents before Christmas this season, Team Harmony was at "Open Hostility" for the first half of the season. The team captain Jordan Gavin would try to calm things down and everybody would react "who does this ass think he is talking to us like that?!" and they'd add Gavin to the list of people they hated.

So the team had lots of problems, and not just team harmony. Last game of preseason ended with Lucas Karmiris injured and out for the first 2 months of the season. Then the defense looked terrible, heavily conceding in every game. Even when Anchorage won it wasn't thanks to the defense, a 7-6 and a 6-4 win in the first couple of weeks. A change of goalie, Mads Sogaard out and Topias Leinonen in and some shuffling of the defensive lines and things steadied for a while, Anchorage got up to 16-12-3 and second place in the division, but that was as good as it got. An injury to the star defenseman Henry Mews was followed by a long losing streak and the team harmony falling apart and Anchorage were out of the playoff running by the end of December.

One good thing about the team self destruction was that I read through the boards to see what caused the dressing room falling apart. Apparently if you read a players scout report the players most likely to be clique ringleaders or cause off-ice issues will have warning hints in the Personality section. Sure enough the troublemakers all had a warning in their scout report (Alex Weiermair "If he's on your roster, controversy will follow", Carter Murphy "Murphy is prone to controversy", rookie Jaxon Pirie "If Pirie is on your roster, controversy is sure to follow", Hunter McKenzie "over-confident - prone to controversy"). I'd never bothered looking at that part of the scouting report, hence I collected a group of trouble makers. They're all cleared now, all traded away or UFAs not renewed, and from now on nobody with the word controversy in their scout report is getting on my team.

Goalie Topias Leinonen was also a victim of the purge that followed me going through the scout reports for every player. "Tendency to crumble in important games" sounds like a bad trait, particularly for a goalie, so he's out.

Anchorage finished the season 7th in Pacific Division, a record of 35-39-8 for 78 points, 16 points less than last year and 14 points out of the wildcard positions. Harmony, injuries, bad defense, those three are getting the blame for the bad year.

Good news for next year is all the big names will be back, Karmiris, Gavin, Mews, Mattila, Holloway, Vuollet, Podkolzin, Hemming all under contract so we have a core to build around. We also have a good collection of picks for the upcoming draft thanks to the mid-season clear out, 3 picks in the 1st round (all of them lottery) and 2 more in the 2nd round. Bad news is we don't have a goalie, and the defense is poor so the roster needs some rebuilding. Goalie Mads Sogaard was mediocre, lost his starting spot, had a save percentage below .900 and goals saved above average of -18, but he still wanted over $9mil per year to re-sign. So he'll be free to explore other opportunities in the summer.

It'll be another season of Anchorage having a different starting goalie every year, six years in and nobody has been the starter with most starts two years in a row.

(p.s. If they're still patching things, they need to look at FAs too. I checked mid-season and there was a top goalie sitting unclaimed, Ilya Sorokin had been released mid-season and nobody had picked him up. Vezina trophy finalist last season, released and a free agent this. Last year it was the Vezina trophy winner who sat out most of the year.)

Last edited by Critch : 03-14-2023 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 03-09-2023, 12:16 AM   #37
Young Drachma
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Join Date: Apr 2001
I'm all for single player dynasty cheating. Also, expansion life is hard so there's that.

Weird the game's FA issues still exist, my theory in general is that when OOTP left SI way back in the day, their agreement doesn't let Markus use the same OOTP user interface for other games. The fact they release such a bad looking game (under the hood is what it is) seems...silly otherwise.

Anyway, good work keeping up this story. And it's great you've got a core going, so maybe you can get lucky with a drafted goalie that helps you all turn a corner in the next 1-2 seasons?
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Old 03-14-2023, 02:56 PM   #38
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Originally Posted by Young Drachma View Post

Weird the game's FA issues still exist, my theory in general is that when OOTP left SI way back in the day, their agreement doesn't let Markus use the same OOTP user interface for other games. The fact they release such a bad looking game (under the hood is what it is) seems...silly otherwise.

The FA issue is definitely better, it's just been the occasional top class goalie, for defensemen and forwards the FA pool is replacement level as it should be. Allegedly if I edit the team salary cap upwards a million or two every few seasons, it helps out. I'll have to remember to do that next year.

And back to the "action":

Anchorage Huskies are not dead! I got distracted by Mount & Blade II - Bannerlord turning up on Game Pass, I was addicted but in a "I'm not sure that I'm having fun here" kind of style. But back to FHM9 now.

2029/30 Playoffs
Sadly there's no Anchorage in this year's playoffs after a regular season of failure. Dallas didn't go far in their attempt for a 4th championship in 5 years, they were out in the first round of the playoffs to St Louis. Dallas also didn't win the Central division this year, it was Minnesota who won the division and then kept up the "Central division winners win the Western Conference" trend by winning the Western Conference. In the Eastern Conference, Ottawa made it to their third Conference final in a row and won to go to back-to-back Stanley Cup finals, they lost to Dallas last year.

So the Stanley Cup final was Minnesota Wild against the Ottawa Senators, it went to 7 games and Minnesota won. A happy ending for Minnesota fans after years of seeing their relocated Minnesota North Stars win Stanley Cups for Dallas.

Rookie Draft
Thanks to clearing out a few disruptive rookies last year, and Anchorage being a bit awful themselves, Anchorage went into the draft lottery with three lottery picks (4, 7 and 9) and dreams of hitting lucky and getting the top pick. They had 4, 7 and 9 at the start of the lottery, they had 4, 7 and 9 at the end too. At least they didn't get worse. It was another year for a weak draft class (general consensus seems to be that the later drafts aren't too weak, it's that the preset prospect lists for the early drafts are too strong). I completely ignored the "concentrate on defense" mantra that is supposed to be guiding me and ended up with an 18 year old Canadian Left Wing Jeff Martin at 4, an 18 year old Slovenian Right Wing Peter Hrovatin at 7, and the top goalie in the draft class 18 year old Lucas Wall at 9. They will be respectively staying in Canadian Juniors, Swedish League, and Brown University for the next 2 or 3 years before being anywhere near the Anchorage roster.

Three more picks in the second round (Winger Andrey Leschevsky, finally a defenseman Ty Flick and another net-minder Oleh Tereschenko) and the Anchorage prospects are a bit more promising than they've been for the last couple of seasons.

A few years ago there was a bug with the draft where it would only show goalies on the Anchorage draft search screen so Anchorage drafted a veritable buttload of them, thanks to that year 5 of the top 8 Anchorage prospects are goalies. I may have to trade for defensemen.

Free Agency
After Minnesota won the Stanley Cup I checked out their roster and thought "they're not very good, how come they get 96 points and a Stanley Cup and I cant make the playoffs?". On looking into it they had let some players walk after the final but still, even the roster they won with wasn't that much better than Anchorage. So I've been off watching youtubes for hints. I really went to youtube for hints on the tactics side, so far my tactical approach has been hit the "AI sets tactics" button before season one, fiddle a little bit, then leave the tactic screens untouched for the next 5 or 6 seasons. Unfortunately almost all the youtubes I watched were playing GM Only so not a lot of hints on tactics. The OOTP Developments youtube did have a play through which touched on tactics so I'm going to mess with tactics this year based on what I learned there. Basic plan is come up with tactics that suit the players, no more players listed as bad or terrible fits. I'm also going to try to get more defensive defensemen, and maybe get a bit tougher in the bottom 6 forwards. Currently my bottom 6 forwards are just top 6 skill players who aren't good enough for the top 6 and are not tough at all. I need somebody hitty and punchy and just generally annoying. Allegedly if you put an "agitator" in your bottom 6, you'll get more powerplays, he'll aggravate the opponents into it. Worth a try.

First up was the plan to get defensive defensemen. Yan Kuznetsov is first in, a 6'4'' Russian with no NHL experience but the Anchorage scouts like him, he's in from the KHL. Next it's Thomas Harley. According to the star ratings he's not very good (2.0 current, 2.0 potential), but he's big, he's defensive, and he's won the Stanley Cup 4 out the last 5 seasons (3 with Dallas and last year with Minnesota) so he must be doing something right. He'll be third line for Anchorage. They're both cheap, so no great loss if they don't work out.

I then made a few more trades, tried to sign a goalie and then the game crashed to desktop. That's the first time that's happened, there's been a few where I've had to save and restart, but this is the first crash. luckily the game has saved since we signed Kuznetsov and Harley, and it reloaded ok.

Last edited by Critch : 03-16-2023 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 03-15-2023, 04:01 PM   #39
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2030/31 Preseason and stuff
After the stunning revelation that the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Minnesota Wild were really not all that good, I went into hardcore FHM9-learning mode. Basically I watched a few youtube videos, and then looked at my team to see what I was doing wrong. We were going to be more like Minnesota.

Huskies go Wild
The first obvious difference was that, despite defensemen and forwards being fairly comparable with Anchorage, Wild had a top class netminder. Jesper Wallstedt, 4.0 current rating, he'd been pretty ordinary in the regular season but he really turned up in the playoffs. Sure one of the forwards won the Playoff MVP (Matt Boldy, 26 points in 27 playoff games), but Wallstedt with a .930 save percentage helped carry an ok-ish team to the championship. A goalie at the top of his game can cover up for a lot of other problems. So Anchorage would get a good goalie too. We'd planned on going the cheap option, 24 year old Evan Maillet (no NHL experience but did well in AHL), but there was a top guy just sitting in Free Agency. 5-star rated Sebastian Cossa, he'd missed most of last season with a broken shoulder bone, he wouldnt be fit til pre-season but he'd been great for a few seasons at Detroit before that. It looked like his injury was putting everybody else off, he started free agency looking for 9.8mil per year but when I decided "Anchorage need a top class goalie" he was getting a bit more desperate and signed up for a measly $6.6mil per year for three years.

Another issue was that Anchorage Huskies were soft. There's a screen that shows "Toughness" for each line and both the 3rd and 4th line were 1-star toughness. The two lines that should be defending and throwing themselves into hits weren't. I pruned out the softer players and signed a FA RW Benjamin Coupal, he hadn't played in the NHL but the scouts liked him, he had high ratings for hitting, checking and fighting, and he'd been suspended 8 times in 3 AHL seasons so he sounded perfect. He's into the 4th line as "agitator" to shake things up. We also added a big AHL defensive forward for a bit of depth, Brandon Svoboda. Having a cool name made him stand out from the crowd.

Next up were the tactics. I'd not really paid much attention to the tactics and I don't really understand what some of them mean or how they should all hang together, so I just cycled through all the options til I found ones that didn't list anybody as a "terrible fit". If an important player liked an option, that was a bonus. So we are going "through center" and Neutral zone Funnel because Jordan Gavin likes those options, and Behind the Net in the offensive zone because Oskar Voullet and a couple of others like that. We'll see if that all works.

And the final change was the staff. I'd left staffing and staff contracts to the AI and it hadnt done well so a few firings, a few new hires and we were set for the season. You'd think the AI would at least make sure your assistant coach for offense could at least coach offense.

If this doesnt help at least a bit, I'm stumped. Maybe I should stick to Football Manager.

Sebastian CossaG27CAN5.05.036,680
Evan MailletG24CAN2.54.01750
Ryan GroutG21CAN2.03.01750
Lucas WallG18CAN1.54.03750
Weston KnoxLD25USA3.03.01950
Easten TurkoLD21CAN2.53.52750
Yan KuznetsovLD28RUS2.52.521,290
Vaclav JohanovskyLD22CZE2.02.02750
Carter BylyciaLD21CAN2.02.52750
Henry MewsRD24CAN4.04.024,704
Tomas LavoieRD24CAN3.03.535,492
Conor WaltonRD24CAN2.53.51910
Thomas HarleyRD28CAN2.02.03750
Jordan GavinC23CAN4.55.015,459
Oskar VuolletC24SWE3.53.554,997
Dylan HollowayC28CAN3.53.524,413
Kaden PitreC24CAN2.53.511,295
Prokhor PoltapovC26RUS3.03.011,520
Lucas KarmirisLW23CAN4.54.544,873
Urho MattilaLW23FIN3.53.543,368
Cole EisermanLW23USA3.03.031,440
Anton NilssonLW22SWE3.05.02865
Teddy StigaLW24USA2.53.01815
Vasili PodkolzinRW29RUS3.53.536,770
Emil HemmingRW24FIN3.54.025,049
Chris ThibodeauRW24USA3.03.012,621
Benjamin CoupalRW23CAN3.03.52750
Brandon SvobodaRW25USA2.52.51750
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Old 03-16-2023, 05:14 PM   #40
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2030/31 Regular Season

1st Line - LW Lucas Karmiris (4.5), C Jordan Gavin (5.0), RW Vasili Podkolzin (3.5) - same as usual, but with Karmiris and Gavin 24 years old and reaching their peak
2nd Line - LW Anton Nilsson (3.5), C Oskar Vuollet (3.5), RW Emil Hemming (3.5) - Vuollet and Hemming return, Nilsson is our latest star rookie, he was picker 8th overall in 2026 and joins after a few years in the Swedish league and then last year mainly in the AHL. He seems to have got good all of a sudden, 5.0 for potential. He's another Swede, so this line is all Scandinavian.
3rd Line - LW Urho Mattila (3.5), C Dylan Holloway (3.0), RW Brandon Svoboda (2.5) - Mattila is more defensive than Nilsson so he goes into the newly toughened up third line, set to backcheck. Svoboda also adds to the new tough third line.
4th Line - LW Cole Eiserman (3.0), C Kaden Pitre (3.0), RW Benjamin Coupal (3.0) - Moved away from the lightweight youngsters who weren't good enough for top 6 that I used to park in the 4th line, went for more power.

1st Pair - LD Weston Knox (3.0) RD Henry Mews (4.0) - Mews is on a different role this year, a passing defenseman instead of one breaking in for goals. It's an experiment.
2nd Pair - LD Jackson Gillespie (2.5) RD Tomas Lavoie (3.0) - Gillespie was a pre-season waiver pickup signed for potential, but soon made a starters job his own. Lavoie has been around for years, he's our highest paid defenseman despite barely being mentioned.
3rd Pair - LD Yan Kuznetzov (2.5) RD Conor Walton (2.5) - started off with Thomas Harley but he was as rubbish as his rating looked and not the diamond in the rough that his championship ring collection would have you believe.

Sebastian Cossa (5.0) and Evan Maillet (3.0) - we would have been ok with either as starter

How the changes worked out
For this season we'd made a buttload of changes to the team and while some of the changes didn't really work out, the total result was somewhere between fandabbydozy and splendiferous.

The new top goalie Sebastian Cossa was a success, he led the league in wins, didn't have a recurrence of his injuries all year, and had a respectable save percentage (.915) and goals against average (2.65), but the back up Evan Maillet had a better save percentage (.921) and GAA (2.33) in his 17 games. So that counts as a raging success.

The new defensemen were more mixed, Yan Kuznetzov came in from the Russian league and did well but the other FA Thomas Harley lost his starting place and will probably be 7th man in the playoffs. He's won 4 of the last 5 Stanley Cups despite being a bit awful, so maybe he's just a lucky omen rather than a good player. The defense was a mixed bunch, Henry Mews and a bunch of interchangeable bit parts, but Anchorage finished the season with third lowest Goals Allowed in the NHL so they must have been doing something right.

The one part that didn't work out was improving team harmony. Last year I dumped any player who had "controversy" in this description, dumped coaches who were bad at discipline and/or man management, and made sure there was money left over for Morale boosting events every month. Didn't make any difference, still ended the season with Harmony of "Open Hostility" and cliques. The cliques have grown so big there are now more players in cliques than not. Is it still a clique if everybody is in it? From reading the boards, harmony is still a work in progress so hopefully it'll be patched. Currently it seems like a nice twist, but if it's something you cant avoid it's just a pain. It seems like as well as "controversy", the scouts report mentioning that a player doesnt seem to stick with a team is also a hint that they'll be a problem. I'd be ok if the hints let you know that they were a risk but when it gets to the point that they will definitely cause problems at some point it seems like it's too definite.

Luckily it didn't seem to have much effect on results, if any.

How the results went
In the first three games we had an 8-1 win and a 10-1 win,so it looked good. Ok, the other game was a 2-3 defeat but that was against a top team, so still an acceptable start. 16-4-1 took it from acceptable to very good, and we spent all season challenging for a top 3 place in the division with the LA Kings and Edmonton. By the midway point we were comfortably 14 points clear of 9th in the conference, so barring a terrible second half of the season a playoff place was safe.

There was no collapse, even with all the cliques and hostility. This was really the best Anchorage season ever, our previous high points total was 94, we beat that in game 69. Nice.

We clinched the Pacific division with a handful of games to spare, ended the season safely in 1st with a record of 51-24-7 for 109 points, five ahead of LA Kings and 9 ahead of Edmonton in the Pacific. We also ended with the highest points total in the Western Conference, 2 ahead of the suddenly good Atlanta Thrashers. Atlanta's 7 seasons since the expansion have ended 9th, 9th, 9th, 9th, 9th, 9th, 1st. A strange turnaround. We had the best in the Western Conference, but New York Islanders (122 points) and Columbus Blue Jackets (110 points) both ended with more in the East.

So it's off to the playoffs, and this time as a top seed, not just scraping in as a Wild Card. It'll be 2nd Wild Card Seattle Kraken in the first round, they finished 5th in the Pacific division.
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Old 03-16-2023, 06:31 PM   #41
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Playoffs Round 1 - Seattle Kraken
Seattle finished 5th in the Pacific division this year but sneaked into the last wildcard spot as they had more points than the 4th team in the Central Division, Winnipeg.

We only played them twice in the regular season and Anchorage won both, a 2-1 shootout win at home in March and a 5-3 win in Seattle in April.

In the last game of the regular season third line left wing Urho Mattila went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon and wont be back til into next season, not the best preparation. RD Conor Walton and RW Brandon Svoboda are also struggling with day-to-day knocks.

Game 1 - Seattle Kraken 1 Anchorage Huskies 0
Oh dear, we start off by being on the wrong end of a goalie duel. Sebastian Cossa saves 29 of the 30 shots he faced, but Seattle goalie Hugo Laring saves 31 of 31 and we go 1-0 down in the series. It was all square until midway through the third when Marc del Gaizo scored the game winning goal for Seattle. Our comeback wasn't helped by star man Jordan Gavin getting a 5 minute penalty for fighting to miss the end of the game.

Game 2 - Seattle Kraken 6 Anchorage Huskies 3

Oh dear again. The first period is littered with penalties, Benjamin Coupal (who we brought in to be a bit mean) gets a 10min misconduct for fighting along with the guy who scored the only goal last night. Seattle go 1 up on a powerplay, Vuollet scores a short handed goal to make it 1-1 after the first period. The penalties die down in the second, but Seattle score three times, Cole Eiserman with the only reply for Anchorage. Seattle wrap it up in the third, Emil Hemming gets a late consolation and we're off to Seattle 2-0 down.

Game 3 - Anchorage Huskies 3 Seattle Kraken 5
The good news is RW Brandon Svoboda is back, the bad news is RW Emil Hemming is out with a broken nose. He's out a lot with niggly little day-to-day injuries, he missed three weeks with bruised testicles earlier this season. Seattle go 1 up in the first, but Anchorage race back in the second with goals from Gavin, Voullet and Gillespie wrapped around a Seattle goal to give Anchorage a 3-2 lead after 2. Three Seattle goals in the third ends it though. Anchorage came in as favorites but now go into game 4 facing a sweep and thinking about changing the starting goalie.

Game 4 - Anchorage Huskies 4 Seattle Kraken 5 OT

Anchorage stick with supposed star netminder Sebastian Cossa, but one forced change is Svoboda is definitely out now. He's broken his fibula, since his contract runs out at the end of the season he's probably done in Anchorage. Things start well, Knox and Gavin put Anchorage up 2-0 at the end of the 1st. Two goals for Seattle in the second brings it back all square. Gavin puts Anchorage 3-2 up early in the third, but Seattle star player Shane Wright ties it up with 3 mins left, then puts Seattle ahead with 45 seconds to go. His first two goals of the playoffs, good time to waken up. Jordan Gavin ties it up in the dying seconds to keep hopes alive, but Seattle wrap it up 3:38 into OT.

Anchorage are feeling sweepy. Sebastian Cossa ends the playoffs with a GAA of 4.22 and a save percentage of .860. It's only the first game that he lost 1-0 that pads those numbers.

I really thought we were going to win a playoff series here, f you Cossa, f you Seattle.
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Old 03-17-2023, 10:48 AM   #42
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2030/31 Playoffs
It was a year for playoff upsets, Anchorage weren't the only top seed to go out to a Wild Card team, in the East #1 Buffalo lost to Carolina too. After dumping out Anchorage, Seattle took care of Edmonton in the next round and made the Western Conference final, #4 Seattle v #3 Dallas (seeding is done by Division so the Western conference has two #1, two #2 etc). Dallas avenged us by thwarting Seattle's evil plans and made their umpteenth Stanley Cup final from the West. In the Eastern Conference final #1 New York Islanders (best record in the NHL) lost to Carolina, got swept. A #1 seed being swept by #4, the shame.

Stanley Cup Final Carolina beat Dallas in 5 games to claim a second NHL championship of this dynasty.

2030/31 Off Season
I've blamed the end of last season and the playoff failure on the harmony problems. We ended with the "Harmony bar" completely empty and everybody in open warfare with each other. So it was time for another purge of ingrates.

So all aboard the Anchorage Huskies Happy Bus.

We might be much worse than last year, but at least everybody is swell to everybody. We ended last season with a clique of 11 players, so 9 of them are gone in a clique destroying pogrom, only Cossa and Lavoie survived the cull. Reduce a clique to two members and it dissolves. Anybody who was any kind of Mr Angry Pants or Mr Shouty Pants got booted out too, no disruptive, unpopular or outspoken players allowed round here. The Harmony screen is all clean and nice and civil, nobody is unpopular, nobody is outspoken, nobody disruptive and nobody selfish. Everybody is happy and popular. Some of them aren't very good at hockey, but they're still lovely people and that's what matters. As my mum says, it's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

Any coach who wasn't at least very good at people management and discipline is out too. It's remarkably easy to fire staff and replace them with somebody better, the unemployment lines are full of top class hockey coaches apparently. I should have taken this responsibility off the AI years ago.

So after all of that if we have any harmony problems this year, the developers can stick this game up their collective arses until it's patched.

Rookie Draft
A year of lower picks for the Huskies, no pick until 32 in the first round then a couple of second round picks. I loaded up on defensive lottery tickets, players I'll forget about and then in 2 years time be surprised that a couple of them had developed into 4 star prospects. That's the plan anyway, welcome aboard LD Marcus Mezon, LD Brett Pernerowski, RD Johan Dahlberg, RD Joe Price, hopefully one or two of you give me a reason to mention you again. The number one pick in the whole draft went to Vegas Golden Knights, a Russian right wing called Aleksandr Kalashnikov. Great name, hope he's number 47.

The league standings look like they're upside down now, the worst teams are Toronto, Tampa Bay, Boston, Washington, Vegas and Colorado. The Flyers still suck though, so that's not changed in 7 years.

Free Agency

Big news for the free agency period was that Jordan Gavin was listed as a Restricted Free Agent. I had autoqualify set to yes, but he still went to free agency. I'm not sure how restricted free agents work, I guess. Should have tested the process on somebody less important. Anyway, he's back now, 3 years at 10.5 per year. Nice work if you can get it. Kaden Pitre and Brandon Svboda were signed too, despite the clear out for harmony the core of the team is much the same as last year, there's just not much depth when the injuries happen.

The last couple of days before the first game of the season are when teams get their roster down to 23 players by dropping the nearly good enough into the AHL, it's a feeding frenzy of waiver claims. Until that day the Huskies' Harmony screen was completely clean, no problem makers at all but I accidentally got an "Outspoken" player in waivers from Anaheim, RD Jiri Mendl (3.0, 4.5). He's good though, fills a gap in the defense, so he'll be around til the moment he causes a problem. Or the end of the season, he's only got one year left on a reasonable contract, I'm sure he'll be asking for 6mil per year next year.

Last edited by Critch : 03-17-2023 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 03-17-2023, 08:29 PM   #43
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Would you mind sharing links to the videos you watched? I picked up the game and so far I am a little clueless.
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Old 03-17-2023, 09:23 PM   #44
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Originally Posted by cubboyroy1826 View Post
Would you mind sharing links to the videos you watched? I picked up the game and so far I am a little clueless.

I didnt find any guides or anything, just a few dynasty-type gameplay series. It's the beauty of working from home and having youtube premium.

Best series was probably from OOTPDevelopments, the game producer and community manager playing through a few seasons. The expansion Columbus Blue Jackets one was the most informative:

There's also a series from the youtube OldSchoolSports account, plays through rebuilding the Blackhawks for a few seasons. It's higher level than the other one, doesnt seem to mention tactics, more GMing a roster.
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Old 03-20-2023, 10:45 PM   #45
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2031/32 Preseason

1st Line - LW Lucas Karmiris (4.5), C Jordan Gavin (5.0), RW Vasili Podkolzin (3.5) - same first line as every year, but this'll probably be the last. Podkolzin is on nearly 7mil per year for the next 2 years and is 30, so his time is coming to an end. Mainly because we need his 7mil to pay for contract extensions for Hemming, Mews and Turko next summer and our recent 4th pick overall Jeff Martin should be in Anchorage next year to cheaply replace him.
2nd Line - LW Urho Mattila (3.5), C Oskar Vuollet (3.5), RW Emil Hemming (3.5) - the first big change. Last year we had unpopular but skillful rookie Anton Nilsson at left wing, but everybody hated him so he's off to Tampa Bay this season. His scout report said something about him having a hard time in new surroundings so I hoped that into his second year he'd have calmed down and everybody would tolerate him, but wasn't to be so shipped out. Tampa Bay took a few of our undesirables, have to see if they meltdown.
3rd Line - LW Aidan Dudas (3.0), C Kaden Pitre (3.0), RW Brandon Svoboda (2.5) - A few changes on the third line, Dudas in as a free agent from the Islanders, Pitre up from the 4th line center, and Svoboda re-signed. He left as a free agent but we needed a RW so he's back. His broken leg from last year has healed so he's back for 2 more years on the league minimum.
4th Line - LW Leo Seitz (2.5), C Prokhor Poltapov (3.0), RW Jorgen Palm (2.5) - Our harmony-based clear-out really stripped the bottom six and the depth out of the roster, so more new faces here. Seitz was undrafted and bounced around a few AHL teams so turns up with no NHL experience, Poltapov goes from Anchorage depth to a regular starter, and Jorgen Palm is an undrafted FA from the Swedish leagues. He's 6'8'' and 241lbs, so he'll be a big part of our all-big lads third line. If they stand on each others shoulders they're nearly 20 foot tall and over 700lbs.

1st Pair - LD Weston Knox (3.0) RD Henry Mews (4.0) - same as last year but this year Mews is set to be a Point Shooter. He'll get the puck and wind up the big slapshot from the blue line. He's good at that role (20/20), but we don't really have anybody getting to the net, we don't have any screeners, so we'll see if it works and change if it doesn't.
2nd Pair - LD Tarin Smith (2.5), RD Tomas Lavoie (3.0) - Smith is 25 and acquired on waivers from Calgary where he was a regular last year, and he fits in with perennial 2nd line defenseman Lavoie
3rd Pair - LD Easten Turko (2.5), RD Jiri Mendl (3.0) - Turko was our first round pick in 2027, but he's never lived up to the promise. This is his third season as an Anchorage bitpart, so it's his last chance to prove he's worth a new contract next summer. Jiri Mendl is the loudmouth accidentally signed to spoil team harmony, so he's on a good behavior warning. Any problems and he's gone. He was first pick overall in 2025 but has never lived up to it, so he's running out of chances to develop.

Sebastian Cossa (5.0), Lucas Wall (2.5) - Cossa returns, the league scouts say he's 4.5 now but the Anchorage scouts are sticking with 5.0. Lucas Wall was one of our first round pick in 2030 (9th overall) and was at Brown University but he's turned up with a contract. I don't remember signing him, thought he'd be staying in college, but he's here now. Maybe he failed his exams. Last year's wonder-backup Evan Maillet was looking for 6mil per year so he had to be let go. He's not found a new team and he's a Restricted Free Agent, we still own his rights so I think if anybody does sign him we'll have a chance to match the offer. I think that's how it'll work anyway.

Preseason games
Anchorage went 5-2 in the seven pre-season games. Why does autospell keep trying to change pre-season to pee-season? What does pee-season mean? This is on ice and pee-season sounds more watersports.

High points were no injuries and rookie goalie Lucas Wall made his Anchorage debut with a 1-0 shutout victory at Anaheim, saving all 30 shots he faced.

Low point was I brought up a rookie defenseman Ivan Korzhakov, he showed up as outspoken and had caused a riot within 2 days and everybody hated him. So he's back in the AHL for the season never to return. I'm going to have to be more careful who I call up.

We're right at the owner's salary budget (league salary cap is still 84mil, forgot to update it, but Anchorage owner limits the team to 71mil) so there'll be nobody new in without somebody's salary going out first. There's not much depth, if we get injuries the backups are emergency-only level. So few injuries and we should be playoffs again, lots of injuries and the season could fall apart quickly.
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Old 03-21-2023, 10:50 AM   #46
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2031/32 Regular Season
The season got off to a slow start, three loses in a row to kick the season off then an injury to star center Jordan Gavin. He's supposed to be out 6 days with bruised ribs but ends up missing nearly 3 weeks and the team struggles without him and we end October in 7th place in the division with a 6-10 record. Three more defeats to start November and we're down to 6-13 and starting to worry about the playoffs. While Anchorage are under-performing, LA Kings and Seattle are churning out the wins to build up a good early lead. LA Kings are expected, but Seattle are overachieving thanks to a 10-1 start to the season.

November and early December we get back to .500-ish, still outside the playoffs and settling into a "win 1, lose 1" schedule so not getting any closer. By mid-December we're 5 points outside the playoff positions, the Pacific seems to have a lot of good teams this year, LA Kings still powering ahead but with San Jose, Seattle, Calgary, Vancouver, Anchorage and Edmonton all with winning records. Late December is when Anchorage's season changes, a strong run to end 2031 and begin 2032 and we're well into the playoffs. Well behind LA Kings so we wont be winning the division again, but solidly in the race for 2nd. The game gives a little popup for Anchorage records, February 11th home to Atlanta Urho Matilla gets Anchorage's first ever Gordie Howe hattrick: a goal, an assist and a fight. That's the spirit.

March carries on the same way (highlight a game home to Anaheim on March 10th, we're 0-3 down with 5 minutes to go but fight back to get to OT and win the shootout), and a playoff position is safe. It's Anchorage and San Jose ahead of the pack fighting for 2nd and 3rd which would see them face off in the playoffs.

The injuries kick in for Anchorage, Lavoie, Seitz and Dudas are all gone for the regular season and there's countless day-to-day type injuries that means we end the season shuffling the lines, playing forwards out of position to cover for injuries. We limp to the finish line, a win on the last day of the season at Calgary gets us to 100 points for back to back 100+ point seasons and back to back playoffs for the first time ever. We might have limped to the finish line, but San Jose fell over, they lost 9 of their last 12 games to fall out of the race for 2nd completely, they end up 4th and a wildcard spot behind Calgary in 3rd. Despite starting 10-1, Seattle missed out on the playoffs, they finished 7th in the end.

So LA Kings win the division with 126 points (President's Trophy for most points in the NHL this season), we're 2nd with 100 points, Calgary then San Jose next with 93 points. In the Central Nashville, St Louis, Winnipeg and Atlanta all break 100 points. 104, 103, 102, 101 respectively, miles ahead of the crumbling Dallas Stars who miss the playoffs for the first time in the dynasty with only 85 points.

In the Eastern Conference Toronto and the reigning champs Carolina are the pick of the bunch, the two division winners.

So onto a playoff series against Calgary, maybe we can finally win a series.
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Old 03-21-2023, 12:43 PM   #47
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
The most important point from the regular season that I forgot to mention, we didn't have a single team harmony issue. We even risked bringing up a couple of depth players with reputations for a few days and nothing happened.

2031/32 Playoffs Round 1 - Calgary Flames

We go into the playoffs still carrying injuries, Tomas Lavoie is definitely out for the year, Aiden Dudas might be back if we get to round 2, same for Leo Seitz (although he's no great loss, he wasn't very good this year), plus stars Lucas Karmiris and Emil Hemming are still game time decisions with day-to-day injuries. Emil Hemming is out with bruised testicles again, this is the third time, I'm not sure what he's getting up to in his spare time.

We've played Calgary 4 times in the regular season, we lost the first (2-3 in November) but have won the 3 since (5-2 in November, 4-1 at home on New Years Day, and 3-2 on the last day of the season). Surely we must be strong favorites.

Game 1 - Calgary Flames 7 Anchorage Huskies 4
Hemming will miss the game, but Karmiris is back so we're as full-strength as we've been for a while. A strange game, lots of twists and turns. Calgary are 2-0 up in the first two minutes, Oskar Vuollet pulls one back but Calgary add another couple and it's 4-1 after the first period. Karmiris, Vuollet and Podkolzin score in the second to tie it up at 4-4 after the second, but Calgary race away in the third. A powerplay goal, an even strength and a last minute empty net goal and we're 1 game down already. Sebastian Cossa with a .850 save percentage, maybe he's just a regular season goalie. We've now lost 7 playoff games in a row since being 3-2 up against Dallas a few years ago.

Game 2 - Calgary Flames 4 Anchorage Huskies 5
Another strange twisty-turny game. Hemming is missing again, some shuffling of the lines since we don't really have a top 6-level right wing to replace him. Things start badly as Calgary's Jeff Smith scores twice in the 1st, then another in the second to finish his hat-trick and put them 3-0 up with one period to play. Anchorage go wild in a seven minute burst in the third period: 7:24 - Henry Mews, 8:37 Prokhor Poltapov, 10:17 Henry Mews (power play), 12:19 Jordan Gavin, 14:10 Kaden Pitre and it's 5-3 to the good guys. The Capitals announcer always calls the Caps "the good guys". I like that, I'm going to start doing it for Anchorage too. Calgary pull one back late on, but the good guys hang on to win 5-4 and break the playoff loss run. We're off to Calgary with the series tied.

Game 3 - Anchorage Huskies 7 Calgary Flames 0
No twisty-turny in this one, it's total domination. Anchorage hold Calgary to 18 shots all game, Cossa saves all of them, then we score lots of lovely goals too. Hemming is back from his swollen nuts, 1st round draft flop Easten Turko also comes in to add a bit of defense-first to the defense and it all works. Gavin and Karmiris put Anchorage 2-0 up with goals 14 seconds apart, Nicholas Moldenhauer makes it 3 right at the end of the first. (I don't think I've mentioned Moldenhauer, he was a depth signing at the start of the season and is now 4th line center as Poltapov had to move to left wing to cover injuries). Podkolzin and Karmiris add two more in the second, Knox and Palm in the third and we stroll to a win and a series lead.

Game 4 - Anchorage Huskies 2 Calgary Flames 3
We roll on with no changes, same lines, same everything, and the result isn't the same. Calgary go 1-0 early, Gavin scores midway through the first and we're tied at 1-1 after one period. Calgary go 2-1 up in the second, 3-1 right at the start of the third. Pitre pulls us back into it and it's 3-2 with 17 minutes to play but that's the end of the scoring. The series so far has been fairly penalty free, but Jake Sanderson and Alexandre Lavoie of Calgary fight in the third. And we're back to tied in the series.

Game 5 - Calgary Flames 4 Anchorage Huskies 6
Jake Sanderson escapes without a suspension after the fight in game 4, but defenseman Tarin Smith is out with a knee contusion. That's fancy talk for a bruised knee. So Mendl comes in to replace him. Anchorage get off to a strong start, Vasili Podkolzin, Henry Mews and Samu Partanen all score in the first 6 minutes and we're 3-0 up. Calgary get back into it with 2 goals in the first, then Jeff Smith ties it up at the start of the second. Anchorage star centers Jordan Gavin and Oskar Vuollet then say "we're going to win this even if we have to carry you" and both score, it's 5-3 after two periods. It's stays 5-3 til the last minute, Calgary go empty net and pull one back through Louis-Francois Belanger and it's squeaky-bum time for Anchorage. No worries though, Vuollet scores and empty net goal with 4 seconds to go and we're 3-2 up in the series. Only the second time Anchorage have been 3-2 up in a series, and we messed it up last time so lets hope we can close it out this time.

Game 6 - Anchorage Huskies 3 Calgary Flames 6
Apparently a knee contusion isn't the same as a bruised knee, because Kaden Pitre is out with a bruised knee so the game thinks it's different. Looks like a knee contusion is a badly bruised knee judging by the expected days out. He's day-to-day and could play if we wanted to risk it, but it's only game 6 so he can sit. Calgary play like a team playing for their lives and dominate, they're 2-1 up after the first. Carter Klippenstein is the Anchorage scorer, it's a sign of how banged up we are that he's on the ice. Lecompte and Moravec make it 4-1 in the second, we have a brief comeback when Karmiris and Mendl score, but Calgary make it 5-3 at the end of the second and add another in the third and we're back to Anchorage for a game seven. We're going to lose, you know.

Game 7 - Calgary Flames 3 Anchorage Huskies 4 Overtime
It's game seven so we risk Kaden Pitre and his knee owie, he's back in to center the third line. We get out to a quick start, Lucas Karmiris makes it 1-0 after 22 seconds, then Nicholas Moldenhauer makes it 2-0 midway through the first. If there's been one thing about this series it's been that nobody can defend a lead, it happens again here with Calgary scoring 3 unanswered in the second, Kadon McCann, Louis-Francois Belanger and Nathan Lecompte make it 3-2 Calgary after 2 periods. We've got one period to save the season. There's a couple of minutes of 4-on-4 hockey (assuming the game gets that right) when Kadon McCann and Kaden Pitre get coincidental minors both for high sticking, but we're less than 4 minutes from crashing out when Prokhor Poltapov (3rd line left wing) ties it up on an assist from Jorgen Palm, and we're off to overtime. Overtime doesnt last long before the Poltapov/Pitre/Palm line strikes again, this time it's 6'8'' 241lb Swede Jorgen Palm scoring on an assist from Poltapov.

Really we have goalie Sebastian Cossa to thank, we were heavily outshot but he kept us in it saving 38 of 41 shots.

So the first ever playoff series win in Anchorage's history. The only slight downside is that we've missed out on being the first of the expansion teams to win a series by 1 day, Atlanta Thrashers and Hartford Whalers both clinched their series the day before.

So it's onto round 2 where we'll face San Jose Sharks. They upset the odds and put out LA Kings in round one.

Last edited by Critch : 03-21-2023 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 03-21-2023, 04:04 PM   #48
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
2031/32 Playoffs Round 2 - San Jose Sharks
And onto round 2 for the first time ever. Pitre is still less than 100% with his knee knack, but is still needed so he's being risked, Dudas is close to coming back but not quite ready, maybe later in the series. But other than that, we're as good as we're getting.

We've played San Jose twice this season, one win each but both early in the season. We'll have home advantage so that should give us an advantage, but they're all nice and rested after a 4-0 series against LA Kings so that'll be an advantage to them. I'm still going we're the favorites and should win.

Game 1 - San Jose Sharks 3 Anchorage Huskies 5
San Jose start the series on fire, score 3 in the first 8 minutes (McConnell-Barker, Brisson, Brown) and end the first period at 3-0. Second period swings back our way, goals from Brandon Svoboda, Henry Mews and Vasili Podkolzin and we're tied at 3 going into the third. Jackson Gillespie puts Anchorage 4-3 up in the first minute of the third with a powerplay goal (incidentally our powerplay is terrible, 14%, last in the league). We add an empty net goal from Gavin in the last minute and we're 1-0 up in the series.

Game 2 - San Jose Sharks 4 Anchorage Huskies 2
Aiden Dudas is back for his first game in over a month, he fits in as left wing on the third line. Just like game one San Jose race into a three goal lead, unlike game one we don't come storming back. We get back to 3-2 at the start of the third with goals from Gavin and Vuollet (with an assist from the returning Dudas) but that's as close as we get and they score an empty net goal late on to wrap it up.

Game 3 - Anchorage Huskies 0 San Jose Sharks 3
A theme of the series has been San Jose with a 3-0 lead. This time it's all they need, one in the first and two early in the third and it's game over and we're 2-1 down.

Game 4 - Anchorage Huskies 2 San Jose Sharks 4
Leo Seitz is back from injury but that just means he's sprightly as he takes his seat with the fans, because he's not getting into the lineup. For the first time in the series we don't fall 3-0 down, we actually score the first goal! Jiri Mendl makes it 1-0 in the first, but then San Jose score their three unanswered goals and it's game over. Jordan Gavin scores early in the third, but 3-2 is as close as we get, San Jose score a late empty net goal and we're 3-1 down in the series. We're not winning three in a row.

Game 5 San Jose Sharks 5 Anchorage Huskies 2
Well we really laid down in that one. Out shot 17-8 in the first, 18-3 in the second and the game is over. It's 5-2 after 2 periods, Pitre in the first and Hemming in the second get goals for Anchorage but it's all over. We're out shot in the third too, but there's no more goals and we're done. San Jose win the series 4-1.

At least we won a series this year.
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Old 03-22-2023, 10:21 AM   #49
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Well at least you are progressing in the playoffs.
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Old 03-22-2023, 02:24 PM   #50
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Herndon, VA
Originally Posted by cubboyroy1826 View Post
Well at least you are progressing in the playoffs.

That's something, Won a playoff series, back-to-back playoffs with the lowest payroll in the league, but do I get nominated for Exec of the Year? Nope. Are the fans happy? Nope. They started as "Disloyal" then jumped up to "Normal Loyalty" after the first playoffs, but now they've dropped back down to "Disloyal".

2031/32 Playoffs
After dumping out Anchorage Huskies, San Jose went onto the Western Conference final to face the St Louis Blues and that's where their run ended. St Louis onto the Stanley Cup from the West.

In the Eastern Conference it was fellow expansion team Hartford who won out, they got into the playoffs as a Wild Card but then beat the top team in the Metropolitan division (Carolina), the second team in the Metro (Columbus) and the second team from the Atlantic (Detroit) to get to the Stanley Cup final.

The Stanley Cup final was where Hartford's luck ran out, they got swept by the Blues. St Louis with their first championship of the dynasty.

2031/32 Off Season
I'd been seeing a few more good quality players sitting out most of the season waiting for somebody to seriously overpay them, a few 3.5 players saying "if nobody is going to give me 6.5mil per year, I'm staying home". Allegedly increasing the salary cap every few seasons helps with this, so this year I finally remembered to add 3mil to the salary cap, we'll see if that works. It wont make any difference to the Anchorage budget, the Anchorage owner is sticking to a salary budget that will now be about 17mil less than the max.

For Anchorage, money's too tight to mention. A few important players were up for new contracts, Mews got paid, Hemming got paid (overpaid?), Easten Turko got his first big-boy contract (only 1.5mil per year but not sure he deserved it) so we're right up to the team salary budget but with roster gaps to fill. The original plan was to move on top line RW Vasili Podkolzin and free up his 6.8mil salary and replace him with rookie Jeff Martin (4th pick in 2030). That plan was shelved because nobody wanted Podkolzin and his salary, plus I was not sure about trading away the team captain. Also Jeff Martin isn't a replacement for him, he's currently a bottom six hitter not a top line scorer. So it was onto Plan B, it was G Sebastian Cossa who went to cut salary.

My rule is that I can shop a player, but that I can't negotiate an offers, it's apparently a bit too easy to fleece the AI if you negotiate. So Sebastian Cossa gets shopped and a few teams offer a 1st round pick for him, or a prospect and a lower round pick. Best offer was Vegas offering their 1st round pick, so Cossa goes and we got a lottery pick this year. Vegas needed a goalie so it makes sense for them I guess.

A couple of years ago we picked up an undrafted backup Evan Maillet from the AHL, he shone for one season in the NHL as a backup, played 17 games, but then asked for a huge pay raise so we let him go. He wasn't the superstar he thought he was and a year earning 11k playing for the Knoxville Ice Bears in the Southern Professional Hockey League has made him a bit more willing to rethink the huge salary demands. He's back to partner youngster Lucas Wall as our 1a/1b goalie tandem for next year.

Rookie Draft
With the draft pick we got from Vegas, we had an interest in the draft lottery. It started off as the 9th pick, but the balls were kind to us and we ended up as minor lottery winners, we move up to second pick overall. Not a bad return for Cossa, I got the "I fleeced the AI" feeling. Luckily the draft class wasn't great, so we didn't fleece them too much. 18 year old Swedish winger Borje Svensson was the pick, he's years away from being ready so will be staying in the Swedish leagues for a year or two. Our own pick in the 1st round was 26, RD Mark Dollack. Again he's years from being ready so he'll be staying in the Canadian juniors. The draft isn't the place for players to help immediately.

Free Agency
It's quiet for Anchorage. A few players leave because they'd be too expensive to resign (Aidan Dudas, Samu Partanen, Jiri Mendl, Tarin Smith, Jake Sanderson), one player leaves because he was confusing (D Josh Glavin, I accidentally started him at center a couple of times because his name is too much like Jordan Gavin), D Jackson Gillespie gets a new contract, a few rookies get their entry level contracts (welcome to the big team Jeff Martin and David Prudek), and we're at the salary limit and ready to go into the new season. I'm not even sure there's enough money left for waiver pickups.

Evan MailletG26CAN3.04.02750
Lucas WallG20CAN3.04.53750
Jacob GibbonsG25CAN3.03.52750
Weston KnoxLD28USA3.03.023,986
Easten TurkoLD23CAN3.04.031,550
Alfred HanssonLD24SWE2.02.52750
John FiremanLD21CAN2.02.02750
Henry MewsRD26CAN4.04.058,510
Tomas LavoieRD26CAN3.03.515,492
Jackson GillespieRD25USA2.53.033,710
Steve PetersRD24USA2.02.51878
Jordan GavinC25CAN5.05.0210,440
Oskar VuolletC26SWE3.53.534,997
Kaden PitreC26CAN3.03.522,547
Nicholas MoldenhauerC28CAN2.52.51750
Brandon SvobodaC27USA2.52.51750
Lucas KarmirisLW25CAN4.54.524,873
Urho MattilaLW25FIN3.54.023,368
Prokhor PoltapovLW29RUS3.03.012,272
Jeff MartinLW20CAN2.54.53834
Taylor WaltonLW21CAN2.52.52750
Vasili PodkolzinRW31RUS3.53.516,770
Emil HemmingRW26FIN3.54.037,540
Jorgen PalmRW24SWE3.03.01750
Aleksandr YeremeyRW24RUS2.53.01750
David PrudekRW21CZE2.03.03878
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